Amid heightened pressure from groups and parents about childhood obesity, McDonald’s is redesigning its Happy Meal menu and serving up overall improved nutritional choices targeted at families and children.
The initiative brings produce to every Happy Meal (apple slices, a quarter cup or half serving) and a new smaller size order of French fries (1.1 ounces) along with the choice of a hamburger, cheeseburger or chicken McNuggets, and choice of beverage, including new fat-free chocolate milk and 1% low fat white milk. These changes are expected to result in a 20% reduction in calories of the most popular Happy Meals. McDonald’s will begin rolling out the new Happy Meal in September 2011, with the goal of having them available in all 14,000 restaurants in early 2012.
Also in 2012, McDonald’s will raise nutrition awareness among children and parents through national marketing initiatives. The company will promote nutrition messages in all of its national kids’ communications, including merchandising, advertising, digital and the Happy Meal packaging.
By 2020, McDonald’s will reduce added sugars, saturated fat and calories through varied portion sizes. The restaurant chain will also reduce sodium an average of 15% across its national menu of food choices by 2015.
In conveying this information to customers, McDonald’s will expand new in-restaurant, website and mobile communications, as well as marketing vehicles, For starters, the company is creating its first mobile app so customers can access nutrition information on-the-go.
The move to a healthier menu is a by-product of two years’ worth of nutritional initiatives made on behalf of the company – as well as recent pressure from a proposed food marketing ban from the US Federal Trade Commission.