SAN DIEGO ( TheStreet) -- Jack in the Box (JACK - Get Report) removed the toys it offered with its kids' meals as the fast food sector continues to face pressure about using toys to market food to children.
The move garnered praise from consumer advocates who criticize fast-food companies for luring children to eat unhealthy foods through the doling out of toys and trinkets, contributing to the nation's growing obesity problem.
McDonald's (MCD - Get Report) recently faced a class action lawsuit over the use of toys in its famous Happy Meals, to which an executive for McDonald's New York region, Mason Smott, responded by arguing that "taking away toys from kids' meals won't solve childhood obesity."
Because of the popularity of its Happy Meals, McDonald's is one of the top toy distributors in the world. McDonald's is not alone in enjoying the success of kids' meals; chains including Wendy's Arby's (WEN - Get Report), Sonic (SONC - Get Report), Yum! Brands' (YUM - Get Report) Taco Bell and Burger King, among others, also offer free toys in their kids' meals. Fast-food kids' meals toys have been called into question lately after a New York City councilman, following in the footsteps of a measure adopted in San Francisco and California's Santa Clara County last year, proposed that free toys be banned from fast-food meals intended to appeal to children unless the meals meet certain healthfulness guidelines. (Even McDonald's time-honored icon Ronald McDonald was called on to retire for the clown's peddling of fatty foods to kids.)
For Jack in the Box, its Los Angeles stores stopped offering toys with kids' meals as of Thursday.