The CEO of McDonald’s was recently lectured about his products by a nine year old. At the corporation’s annual shareholders meeting in Oak Brooke, Ill Hannah Robertson accused the CEO of targeting children with their unhealthy products. The response by CEO Don Thompson was almost equally shocking, “We don’t sell junk food.”
McDonald’s can’t shake the criticism of its nutritional quality, and now is being lectured by children. Hannah, who’s mother Kia is a children’s nutritionist and creator of the children’s game Today I Ate a Rainbow confidently stood in front of a crowd of shareholders and put down the CEO of one of the world’s largest corporations.
She stood up during the question and answer portion of the meeting, rambling off a list of questions and accusations for the powerful business leader, including the following segment:
“Something that I don’t think is fair is when big companies try to trick kids into eating food that isn’t good for them by using toys and cartoon characters. If parents haven’t taught their kids about healthy eating then the kids probably believe that junk food is good for them because it might taste good. It would be nice if you stopped trying to trick kids into wanting to eat your food all the time, I make cooking videos with my mom that show kids that eating healthy can be fun and yummy. We teach them that eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies makes kids healthier, smarter and happier because that is the truth.”
The fourth grader brought to light the marketing strategy in the famous Happy Meal, which has long been a staple of McDonald’s menu and marketing strategy. The toys and characters are always in line with children’s pop culture, which makes kids desire the unhealthy treats when their parents drive by the restaurants. We have all seen a child pull on his mom’s sleeve asking for a happy meal multiple times in our lives.
She also brings up the point that parents don’t always educate their children about nutrition, something that is indirectly brought up in Thompson’s reply to the girl in which he says;
“My kids also eat McDonald’s. When they were about your size, to my son who is with us today, who was a little bit bigger, he was a football player, and also they cook with me at home. I love to cook. We cook a lot of fruits and veggies at home.”
Options such as apple slices and other fruits are available as an option instead of french fries, but the bottom line is if one were to make McDonald’s, or any other fast food a staple of their diet, their health is likely to suffer. This was showcased in the 2004 documentary Super Size Me.
McDonald’s has made progress in terms of its nutritional quality, a sign that they are at least attempting to keep up with people’s changing desires towards a healthier lifestyle. Customers can now opt for egg whites instead of the typical whole egg option with their breakfast, oatmeal is also a breakfast option.
Side salads, yogurt parfaits, smoothies, and fruits and vegetables have taken over more and more space on the menu. Customers also have the option to choose a grilled chicken breast instead of the usual deep fried option when selecting a chicken sandwich.
This concerned fourth grader has succeeded on bringing the spotlight back onto McDonald’s and their unhealthy foods, but CEO Don Thompson seemed content to stand by his menu, defending it against the young challenger.
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The Guardian Express