McDonald's announced yesterday that it will advertise healthier options for Happy Meals and offer salad, fruits and vegetables as alternatives to fries.
Focusing the majority of the campaign on children's health, the fast-food franchise committed to promoting only water, milk and juice as Happy Meal beverages on menu boards and advertisements and said that all advertising directed to children will include a message targeted at children's nutrition or wellbeing. Additionally, packaging for Happy Meals will be geared at promoting nutrition.
The company will also give customers the option of substituting French fries in value meals for a side salad, fruit or vegetable.
McDonald's worked with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation -- a nonprofit dedicated to combating childhood obesity -- to develop the plan, which will be rolled out in the 20 major markets that represent 85% of the chain's global sales. The chain has agreed to implement the plan in 30 to 50 percent of the 20 markets by 2016 and 100 percent by 2020.
McDonald's is not the only chain promoting healthier lifestyles and attempting to meet customers' changing needs. Earlier this week, Burger King launched “Satisfries,” crinkle-cut fries with less fat and calories than existing offerings. Last week, 7-Eleven announced plans to bring healthier snacks to their stores, offering options such as dry roasted edamame, trail mix and veggie chips.
While other franchises are going healthy, McDonald's is the first to sign on for third-party observation. As part of the agreement, an independent organization will verify McDonald's progress on its commitment.