After being accused of using toys to lure kids to its restaurants and blamed for promoting unhealthy eating habits, McDonald’s is introducing a new Happy Meal that the company says adds “more nutritionally balanced choices,” as part of its “Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices” initiative.
Starting in September, and by Q1 2012, all McDonald’s Happy Meals will automatically include both apple slices (without the dipping caramel) and a smaller portion of French fries (1.1 ounces), along with the choice of a hamburger, cheeseburger, or chicken McNuggets, and a choice of beverage, including the new fat-free chocolate milk and 1 percent low-fat white milk. Customers can also request two bags of apple slices instead of the French fries.
By Q1 2012, McDonald’s hopes that Happy Meals will see an estimated 20 percent reduction in calories and also a reduction in fat. By 2015, the chain hopes to reduce sodium by 15 percent in all its meals.
The company will also promote nutritional messages in all of its national kids’ communications, including merchandising, advertising, digital, and on Happy Meal packaging.