If so many people love the McRib, why is it only available for limited times, and at seemingly random intervals?
An amazingly in-depth post about the McRib over at The Awl has an interesting theory, with a graph to back it up:
The McRib’s unique aspects and impermanence, many of us believe, make it seem a likely candidate for being a sort of arbitrage strategy on McDonald’s part….If you can demonstrate that McDonald’s only introduces the sandwich when pork prices are lower than usual, then you’re but a couple logical steps from concluding that McDonald’s is essentially exploiting a market imbalance between what normal food producers are willing to pay for hog meat at certain times of the year, and what Americans are willing to pay for it once it is processed, molded into illogically anatomical shapes, and slathered in HFCS-rich BBQ sauce.…The blue line is the price of hogs in America over the last decade, and the black lines represent approximate times when McDonald’s has reintroduced the McRib, nationwide or taken it on an almost-nationwide “Farewell Tour” (McD’s has been promising to get rid of the product for years now).
You can also head over to The Awl for even more theories, though I find this one to be the most compelling (and definitely the most interesting).
So, yes, it looks like the McRib might be a price arbitrage strategy for McDonald's - when the price of pork falls below some kind of threshold, they buy all of the most horrible parts of the pig that Americans would never eat whole, grind them up, mash them together in the shape of something vaguely resembling ribs, slather it in barbeque sauce, and sell it for fun (and profit).
Therefore, McRib lovers, you might be able to get the McRib to appear more often if you can coordinate your pork purchases to cause wild swings in the price of pork. Anyone up for founding PorkPriceVolatilityForMcRibs.org? I would, but I waste enough time on this blog anyway, and I'm not a McRib fan.
Let me know if you want to try to fix the price of pork in the USA, and I'll be happy to promote your effort on this blog!