McDonald’s will make improvements to the Happy Meal menu across 120 markets, to offer more balanced meals, simplify ingredients, continue to be transparent with Happy Meal nutrition information, reinforce responsible marketing to children, and leverage innovative marketing to help impact the purchase of foods and beverages that contain recommended food groups in Happy Meals, the company announces.
In 2013, McDonald’s began working with the not-for-profit Alliance for Healthier Generation (Healthier Generation) to develop a comprehensive plan for 20 major markets to increase customers’ access to fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy and water and many of those markets are ahead of schedule in their progress on those prior commitments.
Five new Global Happy Meal Goals announced by McDonald’s through 2022:
- Offer Balanced Meals
By the end of 2022, at least 50% or more of the Happy Meals listed on menus in each market will meet McDonald’s new Global Happy Meal Nutrition Criteria of less than or equal to 600 calories; 10% of calories from saturated fat; 650mg sodium; and 10% of calories from added sugar, according to the company. Currently, 28% of Happy Meal combinations offered on menu boards in 20 major markets meet these new nutrition criteria.
- Simplify Ingredients
McDonald’s removed artificial preservatives from a series of food listed on menus in USA, France and Canada.
- Be Transparent with Happy Meal Nutrition Information
The company mentions that it has made efforts to meet consumers’ desire for easy access to nutrition information for menu items.
- Market Responsibly
All Happy Meal bundles advertised to children will meet McDonald’s new global nutrition criteria, and will continue to meet any existing local/regional advertising pledges with respect to marketing to children.
- Leverage innovative marketing to help increase purchase of foods and beverages that contain recommended food groups in Happy Meals
McDonald’s recognizes its marketing campaign impact to help serve more fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, lean protein and water in Happy Meals. This goal takes these actions one step further to include a measurement component and externally sharing best practices and results in a transparent manner.
On the other hand, the company makes a promise that customers in the U.S. will see accelerated changes to the Happy Meal menu this year. In June 2018, 100% of the meal combinations offered on Happy Meal menu boards in the U.S. will be 600 calories or fewer, and 100% of those meal combinations will be compliant with the new nutrition criteria for added sugar, saturated fat, and 78% compliant with the new sodium criteria.
McDonald’s USA last announced changes of this magnitude in 2013 as part of its commitment with Healthier Generation, when removing soda from the Happy Meal section of its menu boards, which has resulted in a 14% point increase in the number of Happy Meals ordered that include water, milk or juice as their beverage choice.