McDonald’s USA president Jan Fields announced the company’s “Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices.” The comprehensive plan aims to help customers -- especially families and children – make nutrition-minded choices whether visiting McDonald’s or eating elsewhere.
Menu changes underway include the addition of more nutritionally-balanced choices that meet McDonald’s reputation for great taste and affordability, along with an increased focus on providing nutrition information that enable customers and employees to make simple, informed menu decisions.
“McDonald’s will always try to do the right thing, and we know we can help make a difference in our communities,” said Jan Fields, president, McDonald’s USA in a prepared statement. “The commitments we’re announcing today will guide the future evolution of our menu and marketing.”
McDonald’s Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices include:
1) Championing children’s well-being: McDonald’s will automatically include produce or a low-fat dairy option in every Happy Meal®. By the end of Q1 2012, the company will produce apples in every Happy Meal and promote options that meet the new, rigorous Council of Better Business Bureaus Food Pledge nutrition standards. The impact will be an estimated 20 percent reduction in calories of the most popular Happy Meals, also reducing fat in those meals. The company is also exploring alternatives to the automatic apples, such as other produce or low fat dairy items. In 2012, McDonald’s will also 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. McDonald’s will also provide funding for grass roots community nutrition awareness programs.
2) Expanding and improving nutritionally-balanced menu choices: By 2020, McDonald’s will reduce added sugars, saturated fat and calories through varied portion sizes, reformulations and innovations. Also, by 2015, McDonald’s will reduce sodium an average of 15 percent overall across its national menu of food choices.
3) Increasing customers’ and employees’ access to nutrition information: McDonald’s will expand new in-restaurant, website and mobile communications, and marketing vehicles making access to this information even easier. To begin, McDonald’s is now making available its first mobile app so customers can access nutrition information on-the-go on iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android devices.
During the past two years, the McDonald’s system has significantly invested in nutritional menu innovations and communications. Examples include investing in scientific and customer research, expanded agricultural supply chain contracts, an expanded team of nutrition experts, and updating nutrition information on McDonald’s website.
“As a member of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, I applaud the commitments made by McDonald's today,” said Roger Clemens, University of Southern California, adjunct professor of pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences. “They have captured the intent of the Guidelines and have taken a reasoned, evidence-based approach that should have a positive impact on the millions of children and adults McDonald’s serves every day.”
“I welcome and support today’s announcement by McDonald’s. These types of incremental improvements in popular meals can have a broad impact on public health,” said Adam Drewnowski, PhD, director, University of Washington Center for Obesity Research. “Better to improve the diets of many than to seek perfection for the few.”
Actions in support of the nutrition commitments are already underway at restaurants.