Once again, McDonald’s has changed its staple Happy Meal. Despite this children’s eats program being one of its most popular menu items, McDonald’s announced on Thursday that they were removing calories and trying to help curb childhood obesity. They will be removing the beloved cheeseburger and chocolate milk from the fast food menu. Because McDonald’s wants to “offer more balanced meals” for children, they stripped the delicious cheeseburger from their Happy Meal offering.
Besides that, the fast food restaurant vowed by 2022 to reduce the number of calories by at least 50 percent of their happy meal offerings to 600 or fewer calories.
Of those six hundred calories, only ten percent would come from saturated fats and another 10 percent from added sugar. Their Happy Meals will also be limited to 650 milligrams of sodium.
While these regulations will touch all major markets across the world, the fast-food chain has imposed even stricter regulations on their United States restaurants.
“100 percent” of all Happy Meals will contain fewer than 600 calories by June 2018. Every offer will meet the saturated fat and added sugar requirement while 22 percent will exceed the sodium ceiling.
Americans can also say goodbye to cheeseburgers on the official Happy Meal menu. But McDonald’s will still keep the item available “at the customer’s request.”
Chocolate milk will also be available to children if they know about the fast food restaurant’s secret menu. But it will be re-released after the fast-food chain figures out how to reduce its added sugar content.
McDonald’s also has plans to change their Chicken McNugget Happy Meals by June of this year. Kids-sized fries will replace the “small” order currently included.
“Give our scale and reach, 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.
Because McDonald’s is making an effort to offering children healthier options, the American Heart Association has applauded the restaurant.
“This is an important step in the right direction, and we look forward to seeing how today’s announcement will lead to kids eating fewer calories and less sugar, saturated fats and sodium,” said CEO of the American Heart Association Nancy Brown.
While McDonald’s is trying to portray their decision to change the menu as a move in the direction of better health, food marketing professor Ernest Baskin of Saint Joseph’s University thinks it is just a ruse to hide their secret scheme. He believes McDonald’s wants to cut down on costs by offering fewer calories per dollar and improve its public image.
“Kids do crave McDonald’s, but parents might not always feel good about bringing them there,” he said. “By positioning their meals as healthier, McDonald’s is likely attempting to make the decision easier for the parents.”
Whatever McDonald’s motivations truly are, this change can help fight childhood obesity and promote better health.
What do you think about McDonald’s removing the cheeseburger from the Happy Meal? Do you think they should take that away from the children of this generation?