We believe the entire restaurant industry can help achieve the American Heart Association's goals to improve heart health by making healthy menus the norm for kids' meals. In June 2018, McDonald's US will hit the new calorie, sugar and fat goals and be 78 per cent compliant on sodium. The fast food giant rolled out a plan to make Happy Meals more nutritious - and obviously, we're totally on board. The six piece McNuggets Happy Meal will get a kids-sized fries instead of the small.
McDonald's announced Thursday that it will no longer advertise cheeseburgers as part of its kid-friendly Happy Meal menu as part of a concerted effort to reduce calories and sodium intake, said the chain.
The U.S. already offers an organic apple juice with fewer calories and reduced sugar, and is about to offer chocolate milk with less added sugar, while Canada hasn't announced plans to introduce those drinks as of yet.
Later in 2018, bottled water will be added as a featured beverage choice on Happy Meal menu boards. It will also look to simplify ingredients by removing artificial flavours, added colours from artificial sources and removing artificial preservatives where feasible.
The Happy Meal has always been a target of health advocates and parents who link it to childhood obesity. The chain said it has experienced a 14 percent increase in the number of customers ordering milk, water or juice with their Happy Meals. McDonald's also pledged to serve more fruits, vegetables and grains. The Cheeseburger will only be available at a customer's request.
"We hope these actions will bring more choices to consumers and uniquely benefit millions of families, which are important steps as we build a better McDonald's", CEO Steve Easterbrook said in the statement.
Kenneth Wong, marketing professor at the Smith's School of Business at Queen's University, said it's not a coincidence that McDonald's is sprucing up the Happy Meal image now.
For worldwide restaurants, McDonald's Corp. said that at least half of the Happy Meal options available must meet its new nutritional guidelines.
McDonald's does not break out Happy Meal sales but said that family trips represent 30 per cent of all visits to McDonald's around the world.
In December 2017, 52 percent of Happy Meals in the USA included water, milk or juice. "We're committed to exploring new options".
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