Halifax — Restaurant chain Arby’s is introducing “seal nuggets” to their menu in order to compete against fast food giant McDonald’s. Mcdonald’s Canada recently debuted fish and chips, which will be sold seasonally in Atlantic Canada, in addition to their seasonal McLobster and mainstay Filet-o-Fish.
Arby’s is hoping the seal nuggets — which are actually just seal testicles coated in batter — will help the chain gain a foothold in a market that consumes more seafood per capita than any other region in Canada. The marketing campaign touts the nuggets’ health benefits, and hopes to attract consumers seeking an alternative to deep-fried fish and chips.
Director of Communications for Arby’s Canada, Charlotte Lindberg-Bebè, says that the new item will indeed be the healthiest option on the menu. “We’ve infused each ‘nugget’ with cod liver oil in order to increase the omega-3 fatty acids, which are already abundant in seal testicles anyway, so this item will be especially healthy — as well as delicious.”
While Lindberg-Bebè recognizes that seal testicles are “not for everyone,” research shows that among seafood-loving Atlantic Canadians there is a market for the delicacy.
“People have known about the health benefits of seal testicles for generations in Atlantic Canada,” she contends, “and of course, there is the tradition of ‘kissing a seal testicle for good luck’ that adds to the whole romanticized perception of the region.”
Sealers in the region agree and, after years of worldwide boycotts and price inflation, they welcome any investment in the local seal economy.
“This is going to give our sagging industry the support that it needs,” says Reggie Dunlop, a third-generation sealer from the Magdalen Islands. “We have to change people’s perception of seals as some cute, cuddly animal and make consumers appreciate the health benefits of including seal testicles in their diet.”
Dunlop and other “nugget” connoisseurs will not have to wait long; Arby’s Canada will officially launch their seal nuggets in all four Atlantic provinces for a limited time starting June 30.