Michele Obama praised McDonald’s after announcing it will automatically include a portion of fruit in children’s Happy Meals and reduce servings of French fries. The world’s largest hamburger chain, which has come under increasing pressure from consumer groups to sell healthier food, said it would start making the changes in September. The new Happy Meals will be available in all of its 14,000 US restaurants early next year. They will include a quarter-cup of peeled apple. The new child’s French fry portion will be 1.1 ounces, down from 2.4 ounces previously. The company said the changes to Happy Meals will reduce the annual consumption of America’s children by 49 billion calories.
Michelle obama, who as US first lady has campaigned against childhood obesity, said: McDonald’s is making continued progress today by providing more fruit and reducing the calories in its Happy Meals. She also stated that everyone has a role to play in making America healthier, and these are positive steps toward the goal of solving the problem of childhood obesity. McDonald’s also promised to reduce sugars, saturated fats and calories across its menus in the US by 2020. Cindy Goody, McDonald’s senior director of nutrition, said: “We are going to be casting our gaze more closely on portion management as well as how we can introduce more food groups such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.”
The fast food chain acted after San Francisco and nearby Santa Clara County, California, passed laws that would stop free toy giveaways with unhealthy restaurant meals for children. Happy Meals have been sold by McDonald’s for more than 30 years and traditionally include a burger, French fries, drink and toy. Apple slices had in the past been offered as an alternative to French fries if a customer asked, but they will now be included automatically in every meal. McDonald’s said some restaurants may serve carrots, raisins, pineapple slices or oranges instead of apples.