When McDonald’s opened its doors in 1940, it instantly became an iconic American symbol and the golden arches were soon recognizable to anyone. It didn’t take long for the booming business to open up locations beyond America, and today you can order a Big Mac from any one of their 40,000 locations worldwide. While McDonald’s was amongst the top fast-food restaurants to get your burger fix, they are going with the times and changing things up a bit.
One of the things that McDonald’s is most well-known for is the happy meal. The cute little box holds everything a kid needs…a cheeseburger, fries, and of course a toy to go along with it. But, the company is striving to keep the happy meal under 600 calories and reduce the sodium in the meal, so this comes with drastic changes. The cheeseburger is going away and will no longer be a happy meal option. This new rule will go into effect in June and because the company is promising to keep the calories and sodium levels lower than in the past, there will be an option that is healthier than the cheeseburger.
This new push for lower calories comes in response to our more health conscious society and McDonald’s has found that parents are opting to take their children out for meals at places that offer more healthy options, like Panera, who promises to offer lower-calorie items that are designed for kids.
In addition to the cheeseburger removal, the drinks of choice in the happy meal will be limited and kids will only be able to have water instead of the high-calorie fountain sodas. They are also adding some low sugar juices to the menu and of course, milk will be available.
This isn’t the first time that McDonald’s has made a shift with their happy meals. Back in 2002, they offered a “Go Active” version which included a salad and a pedometer instead of a toy. Unfortunately, this happy meal version wasn’t a huge hit and it didn’t end up staying on the menu for long. This is also around the same time that the restaurant started to offer apple slices instead of fries.
The best part about a happy meal is agreeably the toys and some of these toy collections brought people back to the restaurant repeatedly. Disney-themed happy meals proved to be amongst the most popular and these hit toys were sought after in 1987, when the restaurant decided to add them to the meals. And then there were the Beanie Babies, which were a huge hit and got people hooked on collecting them. This brought in collectors of all ages, and many people just ordered the happy meal for the toy.
Some locations like San Francisco and Chile have already changed their ways and they’ve stopped giving away toys in the happy meals because they felt like it was a way to lure children to eating a high-calorie unhealthy meal. By taking the toy away from the unhealthy meal, they are doing their part to prevent childhood obesity.
If you have a hankering for a happy meal, you better get it before June 1st, when the world will see a major shift in the iconic option.