After 73+ years in business, McDonald’s is offering less sugar in its happy meals and other healthier food alternatives. After flat sales and criticism from many nutritionists and health-conscious organizations, the company is now heading towards a more healthy direction.
In an answer to the Clinton Foundation’s campaigns to fight obesity in children, McDonald’s wants to appeal to increasingly healthy-conscious customers by serving fast food that have less fat, sugar, and salt content.
Although customers will still be able to purchase soda, they will have the options of water, juice, or low-fat milk for their value meal drink. And although customers will still be able to purchase french fries, they will have the options of salad, fruit, or a piece of vegetable for their value meal side.
The current millennial generation is a lot more health savvy than previous generations. They are turning to food chains such as Chipotle or Panera Bread more than a long-time-viewed unhealthy fast-food chain such as McDonald’s.
This isn’t the first time that McDonald’s has tried to take on a healthy direction. They have offered salads or raw fruits and vegetables for several years now, but its main sales in the U.S. and Europe still have not improved dramatically.
Last Thursday at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, McDonald’s made an announcement that it will include fruits and vegetables in its adult menu combos in 20 of its largest markets. The company has also promised that it would no longer push its less nutritional offerings, particularly sodas and french fries, to kids.
McDonald’s top 20 markets make up 85% of its sales. It plans to spend the next three years to put the healthier options in action in at least half of its stores in its top 20 countries, while the rest will see the changes take effect by 2020.
To turn the tides of its unhealthy brand image, McDonald’s is planning on using the marketing tactics that have served the company well for decades now. To help customers see the healthier side of the company, some of these marketing tools are national advertising campaigns on television and eye-catchy menu boards.
In addition, they will also promote nutrition and well-being through fruits and vegetables in “fun ways” on its Happy Meals packaging. This new campaign will cost the company roughly $35 million and it needs to first make sure that its supply chain can handle all of the new changes.
Former President Bill Clinton stated, “If we want to curb the catastrophic economic and health implications of obesity across the world, we need more companies to follow McDonald’s lead and step up to the plate and make meaningful changes,”
The Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association has set up the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to combat the rising epidemic of children’s obesity. They have sealed similar agreements with soda companies to lower the sales of sugary drink in schools nationwide.
Perhaps in the near future, we won’t just have happier kids eating at McDonald’s, but certainly healthier kids.
By: Chelo Aestrid