Hi-C Orange — a drink you know exists only because of McDonald’s — is getting removed from the burger chain’s menu starting in four short days. A memo the company sent franchisees on Monday says the phaseout begins May 1, although stores will be allowed to keep selling whatever’s on hand till it runs out. The notice explains that a “proprietary,” new carbonated drink called Sprite TropicBerry is coming in July to replace Hi-C.
But rest assured: McDonald’s is fully aware of the Pandora’s box it’s opening. The memo’s second page is literally a script the corporate office created to help stores “address customer inquiries related to the discontinuance of Hi-C Orange.” Franchisees are asked to share it with their crews to “ensure the proper message is communicated” about why Hi-C went AWOL. The memo got leaked in a Reddit post (title: “Lol get ready for this shit”), but sadly, the user didn’t include that page. Curious minds will have to put an actual store cashier to the test.
Fast-food chains partner with other food companies all the time (the best-known example is probably Taco Bell’s close ties with Frito-Lay), and this change seems to be the result of some meeting Mickey D’s people had with Coca-Cola. Strangely, Hi-C Lavaburst, as it’s officially known, is already a Coke-owned beverage, so switching to Sprite doesn’t help Coke, unless McDonald’s sells more TropicBerry than it did Hi-C — a gutsy bet, considering Hi-C is its only beverage option with a cult following.
Regardless, people have approximately two months before it disappears forever. As you can imagine, the reaction to the news hasn’t been cheers and backslaps: