McDonald’s vs. Burger King: Which new packaging wins out with consumers?

First, it was the Burger Wars, and now it’s come down to the packaging. McDonald’s and Burger King both recently announced concepts for new packaging design, and consumers have weighed in.

A recent study by The Harris Poll on behalf of Ad Age finds that, overall, most consumers are in favor of Burger King’s new design. Fifty-six percent of consumers said Burger King’s new packaging design made the food look more appetizing, and 54% said they prefer Burger King’s updated packaging when compared to McDonald’s.

McDonald’s new packaging design; Ad Age / McDonald’s

Men especially took to Burger King’s new design, with 61% saying it makes the food look more appetizing, and 57% saying they prefer the Burger King’s new packaging vs. McDonald’s.

The new packaging will likely have a positive impact on sales for both brands, but the influence appeared stronger for Burger King. Forty-eight percent of consumers who prefer Burger King’s new design said they’re more likely to buy its products. Only 41% of consumers who prefer McDonald’s new design said they’re more likely to buy its products.

Burger King’s new packaging design; Ad Age / Burger King

The impact on purchase consideration was most pronounced with consumers in the 35-44 age range, perhaps due to the retro and potentially nostalgic aesthetic of both designs. Two-thirds (66%) of consumers in this age range who preferred Burger King’s new packaging design said they’re more likely to buy its products. About the same number (62%) of consumers in the same age range who preferred McDonald’s new packaging said they’re more likely to buy from McDonald’s.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll during February 19-22, 2021, among 1,059 U.S. adults ages 18 and older with additional branding insights provided by Harris Brand Platform. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. For more information on methodology, please contact Dami Rosanwo.

Download full data here.