Industry News | July 26, 2011

McDonald's Overhauls Happy Meals to Up Health Profile

McDonald’s announced today a major overhaul of its Happy Meals in an attempt to increase the nutritional profile of its kids-meal offering.  

In a webcast featuring McDonald’s USA president Jan Fields and director of nutrition Cynthia Goody, the company announced that it will begin automatically including apples in every Happy Meal, and will reduce the size of the french fries included.

“We are a company that cares about our customers, and we’re determined to run our company in a way that honors our founder, Ray Kroc, who believed that anything worth doing is always worth doing right,” Fields said in the webcast.

Beginning in select markets in September and expanding nationwide by the end of Q1 of 2012, McDonald’s will include a portion of apples without dipping sauces or added sugars in every Happy Meal. It will also shrink the fries offering from 2.4 ounces to 1.1 ounces.

This well help decrease the calories in a Happy Meal by 20 percent, Goody said.

“When you decide to eat out and choose to bring your family, we want you to feel good about that decision and about the food choices you find at McDonald’s,” Fields said.

McDonald’s is also committing to more nutritional messaging directed toward kids. It announced that starting in 2012, 100 percent of its advertising targeting kids will include messaging about healthy eating and activity.

“While recent research shows younger children consuming more fruits and vegetables, we still have a long way to go to increase consumption to recommended levels,” Goody said in the webcast.

McDonald’s announcement comes two weeks after the National Restaurant Association (NRA) unveiled its “Kids LiveWell” initiative, which is currently supported by 19 restaurant brands and outlines guidelines for healthy kids meals.

Fields said that though McDonald’s is not a member of “Kids LiveWell,” it is supportive of the NRA and its guidelines and will work closely with the organization moving into the future.

McDonald’s also announced today that it will improve the nutritional profile of its entire menuboard in the next several years. Fields said that by 2015, the company will reduce sodium by 15 percent across the board, and that by 2020, there will be additional reductions in sodium, saturated fats, added sugars, and calories.

Fields said McDonald’s will accomplish these goals by controlling portion sizes, adhering to guidelines laid out by the USDA’s MyPlate, and developing new menu items. There will also be an advisory board to help guide the chain’s nutrition efforts for kids.

By Sam Oches

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.


McDonald's doesn't make my kid fat because we don't eat there every day, I set a good example of how to eat healthy, and my child gets up and moves. If we want an apple we cut up a whole apple, not peeled slices that have been bathed in preservatives to keep them from browning.It is not McDonald's responsibility to raise healthy children. It is the parent's.

This is not about McDonalds assuming responsiblilty for raising our children. It is about McDonald's and the Restaurant world as a whole offering healthier choices to our guests. I do not agree with all of McDonald's pracitices but this is a step in the right direction. Years ago McDonalds phased out the small drink, in favor of Medium, Large, and Extra Large, I think they come a long way. We live in a very busy world and eating out is a fact of life for a lot of people. Thankfully we are now getting more options for healthier choices. And please note I have carefully choosen the word "healhier" and not "healthy" this is a step in right direction, hopefully the journey will continue.

McDonald's deserves our thanks for doing the job parents won't do--teaching kids to eat fruit. Thanks to McDonalds fruit smoothies, more teens may eat fruit than ever before.Parents are failing so McDonalds is smart to step up & create fruit consumers for its products.

Way to cut costs and fool America at the same time, McDonalds.

Apples cost more than potatoes. This will add costs to a McDonald's Happy Meal... not reduce it!

Nope...look they have already fooled you! Yes, they say they are automatically including apples (minus the caramel dipping sauce = cutting costs). But parents can and will request fries for their kids...why, because the kids will want fries, and McDonald's knows this! The size of their kiddie fries are being reduced (cutting costs). It is an extremely genius way to cut costs and who could blame them? Food costs have been out of control and will continue to rise. Where they are duping the public is stating that this is done out of a concern for the health of our kids...dont't be so easily is and will always be about the bottom line.

Will prices of Apples go up?Assuming that each store does 100 Happy meals a day. And half an apple is used per meal.Someday in the future with 30k stores around the world thats 1.5 million apples a day. Will the world grow that many apples?Very soon you will get apples only in McDonalds!!!

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