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TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Australia
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McDonald's US creates limited edition, re-engineered straws

The straw was designed by a team of aerospace and robotic engineers.

The Chocolate Shamrock Shake, one of four new seasonal McCafé beverages, has dual layers of delicious chocolate shake below Shamrock Shake. The new recipe presented McDonald's a unique challenge to reinvent the shake experience. To deliver the ideal flavor ratio of 50% chocolate and 50% mint in each sip, versus enjoying each flavor separately with a traditional straw, McDonald's turned to highly-qualified engineering firms.

JACE and NK Labs created the Suction Tube for Reverse Axial Withdrawal (the STRAW). The STRAW's j-shape provides optimal flavor flow dynamics.

"It was a puzzling assignment but one with an ambitious goal," said Seth Newburg, principal engineer and managing partner at NK Labs.

"From a physics perspective, it's actually quite difficult to deliver a proportional amount of both chocolate and mint flavors with each sip. But that's exactly what we did. It's a marvel of fluid dynamics. Thanks Fibonacci sequence."

"We're always listening to what our customers want and reinventing our menu in response," said Darci Forrest, senior director of menu innovation at McDonald's.

"And though it might sound silly to some, putting our guests first sometimes means re-thinking even the humble straw. We reached out to some of the brightest engineers in the country and asked for their help to create the ultimate shake-drinking experience."

Due to the STRAW's unique design, only 2,000 were produced in time for Shamrock season. The STRAW will be available in select participating restaurants with the purchase of a Chocolate Shamrock Shake. The STRAW is also available for a limited time.

The Chocolate Shamrock Shake is one of four new mint and chocolate flavored McCafé beverages now available at McDonald's locations nationwide for a limited time. Those beverages include:

Chocolate Shamrock Shake: Vanilla soft serve and chocolate flavored syrup under the original mint flavored Shamrock Shake. Topped off with green sprinkles, whipped topping, and a cherry.
Shamrock Chocolate Chip Frappé: A blend of chocolate chips and a hint of coffee, topped with green sprinkles, whipped topping, and chocolate drizzle.
Shamrock Mocha: Sustainably sourced espresso beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms, steamed whole or nonfat milk, mint and mocha flavored syrup, and topped with whipped topping and chocolate drizzle.
Shamrock Hot Chocolate: Made with steamed whole or nonfat milk, mint and mocha flavored syrup, and topped with whipped topping and chocolate drizzle.

As part of Shamrock season, McDonald's will donate $.25 from each McCafé Shamrock Chocolate beverage purchased to Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) during the week of March 11-17.The iconic Shamrock Shake has been a key part of fundraising for RMHC since 1974 when the first Ronald McDonald House was opened.

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