It seems that McDonald’s will make improvements (or lack thereof, to some diehard Happy Meal fans) by completely eliminating cheeseburgers from their Happy Meal menus by 2022. Despite cheeseburgers being eliminated as an option on the menu, parents still ask for them. The main options on the menu are burgers and four / six-part Chicken McNuggets. The fries sizes will also be reduced.
In addition to these nutritional changes, bottled water is added to the menu and the chocolate milk receives less sugar. The company also plans to serve more fruits, vegetables and grains in general.
This story was originally reported at the beginning of 2018, but since then the chain has not made empty promises in any way. The company continues to advocate healthier and more nutritional options in their stores. By June 2018, all Happy Meals consisted of 600 fewer calories.
McDonald’s has stated that the number of calories has fallen by 20% and that by 2022 all locations around the world will also meet this nutritional goal.
The American Heart Association has commented on McDonald’s nutritional shift as an “important step in the right direction”. The association has also encouraged other fast food chains to follow the example of McDonald’s and make the shift to more nutritious foods.
According to The American Heart Association, 40% of children eat fast food every day, which can cause long-term health problems, such as an increased risk of heart disease or stroke. McDonald’s has been playing with their Happy Meals in recent years and is trying to find the best way to responsibly sell their food to the younger generation.
In addition, McDonald’s added apple slices to their Happy Meals in 2011, and soft drinks were pulled out of the menus in 2013 to increase nutritional value. Just last year, the chain replaced their apple juice with a different type of juice with a lower sugar content. Italy has rolled out a grilled chicken sandwich internationally and locations in Australia and France are playing with a number of vegetable options.
Ernest Baskin, professor of food marketing at Saint Joseph University, supports the nutritional shift of the chain and believes that this will result in more business. “Children crave McDonald’s, but parents may not always like to take them there … By positioning their meals as healthier, McDonald’s is probably trying to make the decision easier for parents,” he says.