In May, McDonald’s was presented with a petition signed by more than 20,000 parents that was considered at the corporate annual board meeting.
The parents were demanding that the advertising of Happy Meals—Ronald McDonald, toys—were enticing their children to eat Happy Meals and should be abolished.
In an attempt to please anti-obesity groups, McDonald’s promised to offer improved nutrition options in Happy Meals. However, the toys are here to stay. I say, long live Happy Meal toys. I believe that it’s not the toys that make the children want to eat the food, it’s the way the food tastes that make them want to eat it. If parents don’t want kids eating it, they should tell their kids that they can’t eat it.
Although, I do think that if parents don’t want their children to eat McDonald’s, then they should simply say “no” when their children ask for McDonald’s, I don’t find these more healthful options to be a bad thing. Now, children who would not normally get to eat McDonald’s food will be able to, and in a more healthful way.
These new and improved Happy Meals will begin being sold in September, and will offer produce or a low fat dairy option in every meal. As it is now, a chicken nugget Happy Meal with French fries and a sprite is 520 calories with 23 grams of fat, according to McDonald’s nutritional value chart. There will be an estimated 20 percent calorie deduction in the meal due to the produce or low fat dairy option.
McDonald’s also has plans to continue to increase the nutritional value of Happy Meals as time goes on.
According to McDonald’s media center:
By the end of 2012 McDonald’s plans to:
•Produce apples in every Happy Meal and promote options that meet the new, rigorous Council of Better Business Bureaus Food Pledge nutrition standards.
• Raise nutrition awareness among children and parents through national marketing initiatives. The company will promote nutrition and/or active lifestyle messages in 100 percent of its national kids’ communications, including merchandising, advertising, digital and the Happy Meal packaging.
By 2015 McDonald’s plans to:
• Reduce sodium an average of 15 percent overall across its national menu of food choices.
By 2020 McDonald’s plans to:
• Reduce added sugars, saturated fat and calories through varied portion sizes, reformulations and innovations.
Whether or not these changes will happen, only time will tell. But, McDonald’s is making an effort to comply with concerned parents. Which, for health’s sake, is probably for the best, as long as blame is placed where blame is due, on the food and not the toys.Contact Augusta Statz.