- Sodium Reduction: McDonald’s has already reduced sodium by 10 percent in the majority of its national chicken menu offerings – most recently Chicken McNuggets®, a Happy Meal favorite. Sodium reductions will continue across the menu in accordance with the Company’s 2015 commitments.
- New Happy Meal: 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 during Q1 2012. The new Happy Meal will automatically include both produce (apple slices, a quarter cup or half serving) and a new smaller size 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 percent low fat white milk. For those customers who prefer a side choice of apples only, two bags of apple slices will be available, upon request.
- By adding fruit in every Happy Meal, McDonald’s hopes to address a challenge children face in meeting the recommended daily consumption of produce. McDonald’s has offered apples as a requested choice in Happy Meals since 2004. And, while recent research found that on average, 88 percent of McDonald’s customers are aware of the option, apples are chosen in only 11 percent of Happy Meal purchases.
“Recent research has shown that younger children are consuming more fruits and vegetables, but we still have a long way to go to increase consumption to meet daily recommendations for these important food groups,” said Elizabeth Pivonka, PhD, RD, president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation. “McDonald’s announcement to include apples in every Happy Meal and being one of the first quick service restaurant to do so - further strengthens their seven years of support in our campaign to educate children and their parents on the benefits of fruits and vegetables.”
For many months and in some cases, years, McDonald’s has been engaging suppliers, government and non-government organizations to determine ways it could play a role in helping society address today’s obesity concerns. McDonald’s will develop additional fruit and vegetable choices and expects them to roll out over the next few years. The company will continue to evaluate new scientific research, public health statistics and customer insights and behavior to determine further nutrition adaptations to Happy Meals.
“McDonald’s agrees with leading food and nutrition experts that making incremental lifestyle modifications with food consumption may lead to improvements in an individual’s well-being,” said Cindy Goody, PhD, MBA, RD, McDonald’s senior director of nutrition. “We support parents in their effort to encourage their children to enjoy the foods that are good for them along with the foods they love.”
- Children’s food and beverage advertising initiative: Since 2006, McDonald’s has supported the Council of Better Business Bureaus (“CBBB”) Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (“CFBAI”) involving a voluntary Food Pledge to only nationally advertise products to kids that represent healthier dietary choices. McDonald’s was actively engaged in the process to help develop CBBB’s recently announced more rigorous pledge standards, which include stricter sodium and sugar criteria, zero grams artificial trans fat per labeled serving, and requirements for nutrient components to encourage.
- Listening tour: To ensure that the company’s ongoing commitments are supporting parents and communities, Fields and McDonald’s U.S. executive leadership team will embark on a national listening tour in August. They will hear directly from parents and nutrition experts about how McDonald’s can play a role in this important topic. McDonald’s will launch a new online parents’ community that provides a forum for McDonald’s and parents to more frequently engage in dialog around these important topics.
- Accountability and measurement: To evaluate McDonald’s progress and the impacts of its nutrition commitments, McDonald’s will rely on independent third-parties with expertise in children’s well-being. The company is establishing a Kids’ Food and Nutrition Advisory Board comprised of parents and experts in children’s nutrition, education and behavior to help develop effective nutrition and active lifestyle marketing messages and programming for kids. McDonald’s will also enter into an agreement with a third-party organization to collaborate on a comprehensive measurement process that sets benchmarks and annual progress against commitment goals, which will be reported publicly.