What 12 Fast Food Advertisements Look Like Compared to the Real Thing

iStock.com/skhoward
iStock.com/skhoward

That perfectly seared, sizzling burger you just saw in a fast food commercial probably isn’t the same one you’ll end up eating. There's a good chance the bun will be squished, with the condiments spilling out and the meat looking significantly less beefy than it appeared on TV. By now, it’s common knowledge that food photographers use fake “ingredients” (like glue and motor oil) to achieve the perfect shot, but that doesn’t stop us from falling prey to food advertisements every now and then.

According to surveys conducted by custom signage company Signs.com, the worst offenders of unrealistic advertisements are Chik-fil-A, Burger King, and McDonald’s. Respondents said an advertisement of Chik-fil-A’s original chicken sandwich looked 108 percent more appetizing than the real deal, and they’d be willing to pay $2.76 more for the advertised version.

A Chik-fil-A sandwich
Signs.com

Signs.com polled more than 500 people and asked them to compare food advertisement photos with images of the real deal, which were purchased and photographed by their team members. The actual food photos were designed to resemble the advertised ones as closely as possible, but the site acknowledged that the images of real food items may vary from location to location.

Survey participants preferred photos of the actual food over the advertised one in only two cases—when real pictures of Papa John’s and Domino’s pizzas were shown. All the other foods were considered to look less desirable in real life than they did in the advertisements.

Keep scrolling to see more food comparisons, and check out Signs.com for a detailed breakdown of the survey results.

A Whopper from Burger King
Signs.com

A Quiznos sub
Signs.com

A Carl's Junior burger
Signs.com

A bucket of KFC chicken
Signs.com

A McDonald's Big Mac
Signs.com

A Taco Bell taco
Signs.com

A Wendy's burger
Signs.com

Arby's gyros
Signs.com

A Five Guys burger
Signs.com

A Jimmy John's Italian sub
Signs.com

A Moe's burrito
Signs.com

Fuel Your Cold Brew Obsession With This Elegant, Efficient Coffee Maker

Brrrewer
Brrrewer

The sun is scorching, the days are endless, and the gentle clinking of ice cubes in a glass of cold brew coffee sounds like chimes at the gates of heaven itself.

A beverage so divine deserves to be created by a machine to match, right? Meet Brrrewer, a coffee maker that will provide you with the smoothest, sweetest, richest cold brew coffee you’ve ever had—and it’ll do it in just four hours.

Brrrewer uses the cold drip method to brew coffee in which coffee grounds are suspended between two microfilter membranes. Water is poured over the top membrane, then slowly filters through the coffee grounds and drips out from the bottom membrane. The top membrane ensures that the water is evenly distributed among the coffee grounds, and the bottom membrane allows only the water-turned-coffee to fall into the carafe below, without any of the gritty residue. (That gritty residue is often a result of the full immersion method, which is popular among those with French presses; basically, you just steep your coffee grounds in cold water for 12 to 24 hours, strain out the grounds, and drink.)

The carafe is encased in a second layer of glass, providing thermal insulation and keeping your coffee cold for longer than a regular glass bottle or pitcher. And you can cross “coffee filters” off your shopping list—the microfilter membranes do that job already.

The Italy-based team at Essense designed Brrrewer with elegance and minimalism in mind, so it won’t throw off the aesthetic groove of your kitchen. In fact, it might enhance it. Also, it’s manufactured from a combination of borosilicate glass and BPA-free Tritan plastic; in other words, it’s extra-sturdy and environmentally friendly.

Mixologist Francesco Corona, five-time Italian “Coffee in Good Spirits” champion and world championship finalist, worked with Essense to develop special cocktail recipes for Brrrewer, which you can find in the paperback book, available on its own for $17 or with Brrrewer (the book and coffee maker combo is $78). Order Brrrewer by itself for $67 here, or see other purchase options from Kickstarter.

If four hours is more than you’re willing to wait for cold brew, check out Ninja’s Hot & Cold Brewed System, which can make it in about 15 minutes.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

‘Budget Meal Planner’ Website Shows You How to Eat Well on $5 Per Day

DragonImages/iStock via Getty Images
DragonImages/iStock via Getty Images

Eating on a budget is often associated with instant ramen, fast food, and other meal options that offer a lot of convenience and not so much nutrition. But finding cheap, healthy ingredients at the grocery store is far from impossible: Many healthy staples—like brown rice, canned black beans, eggs, bananas, and sweet potatoes—can be purchased for less than $1 per serving. The one downside to buying fresh ingredients is that some planning is required to get them on the plate. You may still have to do the shopping and cooking yourself, but by using the website Budget Meal Planner, you won't have to worry about brainstorming new meal ideas each week.

According to Lifehacker, every meal plan on Budget Meal Planner can be made for less than $5 a day—which is roughly equivalent to the average food stamp allotment in the United States. Every meal plan includes grocery lists and recipes for seven days worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. The plans on the site are broken down into different themes, including mushroom, Thai, Tex-Mex, potato, and Mediterranean. The recipes listed may be cheap and healthy, but they don't skimp on flavor. With Tex-Mex, you'll get chicken tacos, stuffed bell peppers, and chili. Choose Thai and enjoy Thai chicken cabbage wraps with peanut sauce and Thai yellow chicken curry.

The site includes meat-free options as well. Just select "vegetarian" beneath the "meal plans" tab for vegetarian versions of Budget Meal Planner's recipes lists. The vegetarian take on the Thai meal plan, for example, uses tofu instead of chicken and mushrooms instead of beef.

All of the meal plans on the website are free, but you can support the project by donating to the creator's Patreon. Patrons also have the opportunity to suggest new meal plan themes they'd like to see each week.

Budget Meal Planner publishes a new themed meal plan every Friday, and you can subscribe to the website's newsletter to stay updated. Here are some more helpful tips for planning your meals.

[h/t Lifehacker]

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