updated 7/27/2004 2:27:52 PM ET 2004-07-27T18:27:52

McDonald’s Corp. added chicken strips to the menu at its U.S. restaurants starting Tuesday, hoping to carve out a bigger piece of a growing chicken market.

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The fast-food company said its new Chicken Selects are made with all white meat from chicken breasts, similar to the “chicken fingers” sold at other restaurants.

The new product follows McDonald’s successful introduction last fall of all white-meat Chicken McNuggets, which are smaller and have less fat and fewer calories than the previous version.

Chicken Selects similarly target a population that is consuming more white-meat chicken. But the Oak Brook-based chain said they are larger than Chicken McNuggets and made from more premium chicken breast meat, targeting an older age group — age 18 to 34 — than the children and young adults who comprise the majority of McNuggets eaters.

The strips are served with either lowfat honey mustard, spicy buffalo or ranch dipping sauces.

The company said 85 percent of its more than 13,600 U.S. restaurants were selling the new item Tuesday, with the rest to have it within a week. Chicken Selects were test-marketed earlier in Columbus, Ohio; Charlotte, N.C.; Denver; Nashville, Tenn., and New York City.

McDonald’s will launch a four-week advertising blitz for the Chicken Selects featuring U.S. Olympians such as Serena Williams and Mia Hamm on Aug. 10, just before the start of the Summer Olympics. The tagline: “Prepare to Defend Your Chicken.”

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