According to the latest news report by Bloomberg, McDonald’s is planning to make its Happy Meals healthier. The fast food giant is now removing the cheese from its Happy Meal hamburgers in response to people asking for healthier meals.
McDonald’s released a statement that by June this year, all menu items in the US will have 600 calories or less. The restaurant company stated that it was targeting its food having less than 650 milligrams of sodium and that less than 10% of the Happy Meal’s calories should come from saturated fats and sugar.
According to CNBC, the effort is to remove as much sodium, saturated fats and sugar from the Happy Meals to make them healthier eating options. Chocolate milk, which has been the standard offering with a Happy Meal is being removed. Now, customers have the option of milk, chocolate milk and apple juice. Bottle water has been added as an offering, however it will cost extra. Customers still will not have to pay extra if they order soda.
Other changes include chicken nuggets being served with kids’ sized fries rather than the previous small size, cutting calories and sodium by half.
This doesn’t mean that the cheese burger and chocolate milk are being done away with. If a customer requests it, the classic menu item is still available. However, the standard main course will be listed as a plain hamburger or a box of chicken nuggets with bottled water. And the chocolate milk will be served with 50% less sugar than before.
Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook made a statement on behalf of the company that he hoped these changes would offer their customers more choices as the fast food chain endeavored to improve its offerings.
Child obesity has increased more than three times since the 1970s and fast food chains such as McDonald’s are being held responsible for these problems. In fact, the McDonald’s Happy Meal has been a target for parents and health advocates.
Over the years, the fast food company has been attempting to improve its health quotient in its menus. The company removed sodas as an accompaniment to its Happy Meal four years ago. This led to a 14% drop in Happy Meal sales. Then McDonald’s cut down the serving size of its French fries and added fruit. Most recently, the company also replaced its apple juice with one that has less sugar.
Thus, McDonalds is trying to use healthier ingredients and also attempting to boost its image by using more eco-friendly packaging. McDonald’s goal is that by 2022, at least 50% – if not more – of its Happy Meal listings in more than 120 markets across the globe will be 600 calories or less.
In fact, in some markets such as Italy, the company is adding additional Happy Meal items to make them healthier. McDonald’s Italy will now offer grilled chicken sandwiches as a Healthy Meal option to make its menu healthier.
According to USA Today, about 28% of Happy Meal combinations meet the company’s new nutritional criteria in 20 of the company’s major markets. These markets are the US, Brazil, Canada, UK, France, Argentina, Germany, Spain, Austria, Italy, Poland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Russia, China, Taiwan, Japan and Australia.
The fast food company has been known as a family restaurant, especially child-friendly as compared to its rivals Burger King or Wendy’s. And the Happy Meal is one of the main reasons for its popularity with the children. This makes it really important for the company to shake off its junk food image so that it continues to attract its target customers.