McDonald's catches up with rivals with egg-white McMuffin
* Touts new item as lower-calorie alternative
* Egg-white options already offered by rivals
LOS ANGELES, March 14 (Reuters) - McDonald's Corp will debut a new egg-white McMuffin in the United States in April and allow diners to swap out egg whites on all of its breakfast sandwiches, catching up with rivals already offering the lower-calorie option.
Dubbed the "Egg White Delight," the new McMuffin will be available nationwide on April 22, the world's biggest restaurant chain said on Thursday.
Though McDonald's dominates the fast-food breakfast category, competitors such as Dunkin' Donuts, Subway and Starbucks Corp have offered egg whites - lower in fat and cholesterol than whole eggs - as a breakfast sandwich choice for years.
The Egg White Delight packs an energy punch of 250 calories, against 300 calories for McDonald's mainstay Egg McMuffin.
Tested in the Atlanta and Austin markets last year, the new breakfast sandwich also includes Canadian bacon and white cheddar cheese in a whole grain English muffin.
The announcement comes as resurgent rivals have made some gains against McDonald's by introducing more food choices.
"It's a great move. It will broaden (McDonald's) audience," particularly diners conscious of cholesterol and fat content, said Bob Goldin, an executive vice president at food service consulting firm Technomic.
New Chief Executive Don Thompson, under pressure to revive McDonald's softening U.S. restaurant sales, said at an investor conference on Wednesday that the company would also introduce new breakfast, chicken, fish, beef and beverage options this year.
McDonald's declined to say how the new McMuffin would be priced. At a McDonald's in New York City's Times Square, the regular McMuffin was priced at $3.09 before tax.
The chain has had hits recently with more health-oriented food such as fruit smoothies.
Still, its "healthy" McLean Deluxe hamburger flopped in the early 1990s and the company recently said it would drop its Fruit & Walnut Salad to make way for other items on its menus.
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