The McDonald's kids' Happy Meal gets healthy

2011-07-26 19:10

The kid’s Happy meal at McDonalds is about to transform: the company announced today that it is going to make it more healthy by serving half the French fries that used to go with it. It will also now come with a quarter cup side of apple slices and fat-free milk, regular or chocolate flavored.

McDonalds said it is responding to the desires of their customers, whose children are battling being overweight or obese. Doubtless, sly restaurant analysts also figure the parents will purchase a regular meal of their own along for the ride.

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McDonalds makes more than $32 billion in sales every year, ten percent of which is rumored to be in Happy Meals. By refashioning the kids’ meal, they stand to boost their already hefty $3 billion profit on those meals alone. The company is also fast responding to the competition’s announcement earlier this month to provide healthier children’s menu choices. The "Kids LiveWell" campaign was signed by Burger King, IHOP, Denny's, Cracker Barrel and Sizzler, among others.

The announcement is more publicity fluff than substance. To be fair, McDonalds has long offered healthier options, and healthier substitutions have been there for the asking. The company sells many diet-worthy items, including a delicious oatmeal cup and a yogurt fruit parfait. Milk and fruit instead of soda and fries are readily provided – it’s just that parents have not bothered to implement the switch. Why? Well, doubtless the kids have something to do with it.

If you are venturing out to eat at the Golden Arches, your expectations are not going to be to eat healthy. Kids especially expect a treat. An occasional treat is not a problem. The problem is that the treat becomes a ritual, which becomes a frequent habit.


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