It’s coming: Healthful McDonald’s Happy Meals - WNEM TV 5

It’s coming: Healthful McDonald’s Happy Meals

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On Tuesday McDonald's USA president Jan Fields announced the company's "Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices."

The plan aims to help customers -- especially families and children -- make nutrition-minded choices.

"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. "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:

Championing children's well-being:

  • McDonald's will automatically include produce or a low-fat dairy option in every Happy Meal® and promote options that meet the rigorous Council of Better Business Bureaus Food Pledge nutrition standards by Q1 2012.
  • The impact will be an estimated 20 percent reduction in calories of the most popular Happy Meals, also reducing fat in the meal.
  • In 2012, McDonald's will also raise nutrition awareness among children and parents through national marketing initiatives.
  • The company will promote nutrition 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.

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.
  • Starting with the already completed 10 percent reduction in the majority of our chicken items, McDonald's will reduce sodium an average of 15 percent across its national menu of food choices by 2015.  

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. 

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% 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.

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