866704734Today, one of my colleagues, Keith posed an interesting question to us as he waved a McDonald's McFlurry spoon at us: Why is the spoon designed like it is?

On one end of the McFlurry spoon, at least the US and UK versions, is the spoon shaped bit which you'd expect but it's the handle that puzzled us. It's hollow and square with a funny clip that looks like the clip from a pen. Now the spoon end is easy enough to work out why it's been designed as such: it's the get the ice-cream into your cake ice-cream hole, but how do your explain the odd handle?

Several possible suggestions came up including, to ease packing, save on plastic, to strengthen the spoon for those fatties who can't wait for the ice-cream to soften a bit and even as a consequence of the injection moulding process.

We were all wrong. A quick search on the Internet (where else) revealed the reason for the handle design:

The McFlurry Spoon is designed with a hollow, 12.5 cm long, 1.5 cm wide square handle made of translucent, heavy-gauge (1 mm thick) plastic. There is no straw functionality in the US version of the utensil, the handle is made hollow only to save material and to allow it to be mounted on the mixer. At the end of the handle is a clip, which attaches onto the rotating axl of the blending machine. The McFlurry-maker engages the mixer while holding the cup, and the spoon acts as a beater, blending the candy pieces into the ice cream. The domed lid ensures none of the McFlurry escapes, and using a disposable mixing utensil means less equipment needs to be washed by the crew at the end of the night.

Of course. Those guys at McDonalds think of everything. In fact I've heard the male members of staff even carry a spoon in their pockets to save time too :-)