Happy Meal will have apples unless you ask for fries
Published: July 26, 2011
There will still be toys in the bags, but apples will soon reign supreme over French fries in the iconic McDonald's Happy Meal.
The fast food giant on Tuesday announced a long-term project to overhaul the Happy Meal, along with many adult items too, and generally improve the nutrition makeup of menu items.
For starters, the new Happy Meal will come with apple slices, not fries, as the standard option.
And for kids who pitch a protest and demand fries, they will come in a smaller size, 1.1 ounces, instead of the current 2.4-ounce bag. The caramel dipping sauce will go away.
Together, the choices could cut the overall calorie count by 20 percent.
Parents will still have the option of choosing chicken nuggets or burgers, and whatever drink they like – soda, milk, orange juice or water.
The prices won't change.
For now, the switch will go against the current of customer preferences.
McDonald's executives say that given the choice between fries and apples, only 11 percent of customers pick apples.
The changes are part of a multi-year drive at McDonald's to improve the nutrition makeup of its overall menu to have less sodium, lower fat options and more fruits, veggies and whole grains.
It's also part of a drive at McDonald's to shed its role as a major target in the debate over childhood obesity.
Happy Meals have long been a target of health advocates and even city councils, which fault them as ways to tempt kids into eating unhealthy fast food.
Asked if toys would go away, McDonald's officials said absolutely not.
"That's what makes them happy," said Jan Fields, president of McDonald's USA.
New Happy Meals will start appearing in restaurants in 10 markets this September, with a full rollout to all 14,000 U.S. locations by the second quarter next year.
Overall, they'll still weigh in at just under 600 calories.
July 27, 2011 at 9:31 AMMy kids like the apples best but we rarely go to McDonalds anyway...
by Kristin42010July 27, 2011 at 9:35 AMMy daughter doesn't have enough teeth for apples so she eats the fries for now. But as soon as more teeth come in and she chews better apples is all she will get. However we very seldom eat out.
by steelcrazyJuly 27, 2011 at 10:06 AM
I guess that this is a good band aid attempt at making their menu healthier. We rarely eat at McDonalds, like 2 or 3 times a year, and when we do my boys order off of the regular menu because at their ages 4 nuggest doesn't satisfy.
by Courtney610July 27, 2011 at 11:10 AM
We rarely eat there as it is, but when we do, my boys eat the apples instead. My youngest has food allergies and can you believe that McDonalds uses whey protein in their fries?
by VintageWifeJuly 27, 2011 at 11:42 AMMy kids like the apples.
by lenoxclanJuly 27, 2011 at 2:01 PMI thinking it's funny how parents are screaming at fast food places to make their stuff healthier because they let their children eat there so much they are unhealthy..sooo basically rather than YOU parenting your child you want someone else too...
by HTMommyJuly 27, 2011 at 3:20 PMHahah yea I think its a good idea. We fall in the 11% that get apples. Don't go there a lot but when we do we don't normally get meals anyway. We get sandwiches and eat at home.
July 27, 2011 at 3:45 PMWe don't eat fast food much. When we do, it's more as a treat, so it doesn't matter to me whether dd wants apples or fries. It's good their offering healthy options, but agree with lenoxclan. Parents need to parent their child/ren, not blame others for what they ALLOW their child to eat, drink, do.
July 27, 2011 at 3:54 PM
You know kids won't care :O) adults are the ones making a big deal out of it.
by Charli627July 27, 2011 at 4:14 PMMy kids don't care. I just order apples for them.