The McAfrika was a burger sold by McDonald's in Norway and "traded"[1] as a Limited Edition Olympic Games Burger. It attracted significant public criticism as a result of its name and the timing of its launch.[1][2]


The McAfrika sandwich contained beef, cheese, and tomatoes wrapped in pita bread. McDonald's claimed it was based upon an authentic African recipe.[3]

Public reaction

The McAfrika was released in 2002, just as a major famine was occurring in southern Africa.[4] The name of the burger was immediately criticized for being grossly insensitive, especially since it was released in Norway, one of the richest nations in the world.[5][6]

Norwegian Church Aid and the Norwegian Red Cross, which were both conducting humanitarian operations in southern Africa at the time, said that McDonald's decision was insensitive, crass and ill-considered.[3] Linn Aas-Hansen said that "it's inappropriate and distasteful to launch a hamburger called McAfrika when large portions of southern Africa are on the verge of starvation."[7] CARE Norway demanded that McDonald's withdraw the burger.[8] In particular, Norwegian Church Aid protested the McAfrika burgers by giving out "catastrophe crackers" to customers entering Norwegian McDonald's outlets.[3]

Support for McDonald's came from the organization African Youth in Norway who appreciated Africa name being used in a positive manner instead of as a continent of war and poverty.[8]

McDonald's response

McDonald's did not withdraw the burger, instead offering it until September 2002, just as planned in its campaign.[8] However, as a conciliatory gesture, it allowed aid agencies to put up posters and donation boxes in McDonald's restaurants where the McAfrika was being sold. Furthermore, McDonald's spokesperson Margaret Brusletto apologized for the timing of the launch, saying "We acknowledge that we have chosen an unfortunate time to launch this new product."[3]

2008 re-launch

The McAfrika was re-launched in 2008 to promote the 2008 Beijing Olympics for a short time, and attracted a similarly negative response.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 . West Side Publishing (2010). ISBN .
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bhasin, Kim (30 August 2011). 12 McDonald's Menu Items That Failed Spectacularly. Business Insider. Retrieved on 2013-06-07.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Osborn, Andrew (24 August 2002). New from McDonald's: the McAfrika burger (don't tell the 12m starving). The Guardian. Retrieved on 2013-06-07.
  4. Borja, Sahara. We're Not Lovin' It! Fast Food's Most Famous Flops. Retrieved on 2013-06-07.
  5. "The Norwegian 'Miracle'", 10 June 2012. Retrieved on 13 June 2013. 
  6. "We're Rich, You're Not. End of Story.", 17 April 2005. Retrieved on 13 June 2013. 
  7. Osborn, Andrew. "New from McDonald's: the McAfrika burger (don't tell the 12m starving)", 2002-08-23. (in en-GB) 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Bevanger, Lars. "'McAfrika' burger not to everyone's taste", BBC, 26 August 2002. Retrieved on 24 January 2014. 
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