These programs follow the launch of McDonald's mobile app late last year that provides customers with on-the-go nutrition information, as well as an updated online meal-builder that offers customizable information."McDonald's initiatives to provide Apple Slices and a fat-free milk option in the Happy Meals are aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, as is the goal to reduce sodium, added sugars and saturated fats in foods," said Judith C. Rodriguez, PhD, RD, LD/N, FADA, Chairperson and Professor, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Brooks College of Health. "The transparency and availability of nutrition information enables consumers to make choices and can help caregivers teach and model decision-making behavior to children. These are life skills that will benefit them not only at McDonald's but in every aspect of life." 2013 Menu Tests Include More Recommended Food GroupsTo make nutritious choices more convenient and accessible, McDonald's revealed plans today to test foods that would increase the number of wholesome choices on its menu. The menu items being explored for 2013 include more recommended food groups. Among the additions being tested:
- More seasonal fruit and vegetables options, such as blueberries and cucumbers, during peak seasons.
- Additional produce side options and grilled chicken choices for Happy Meals.
- The McWrap, inspired by McDonald's Europe, features fresh vegetables and is available in three flavors – Chicken & Bacon, Sweet Chili Chicken, and Chicken & Ranch – starting at 350 calories.
- New breakfast choices, including an egg-white breakfast sandwich on an English muffin made with 8 grams of whole grain.
- Children's Well-Being – McDonald's new Happy Meal launched in March 2012 and now automatically includes Apple Slices and a kids-size fry. Fat-free chocolate milk was also added as an additional beverage choice. More than 90 percent of McDonald's paid national Happy Meal television advertising since March 2012 has included a positive nutrition and/or active lifestyle message for kids. Additional communication vehicles like the Happy Meal box and happymeal.com website also now provide kids and families with messages on nutrition or being active. McDonald's advertising has focused on building kids' enthusiasm for fruits and other choices that meet the nutritional criteria outlined in the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) Food Pledge.
- Nutritionally Balanced Menu Choices – The new Happy Meal is anticipated to introduce about 100 million cups of apples annually into the diets of McDonald's youngest customers. Since February 2011, McDonald's has reduced sodium across its national core menu of food choices by more than 11 percent. In total, more than half of McDonald's national food items had a reduction in sodium, ranging from 1 percent to 35 percent. In addition, each of McDonald's oatmeal provides two servings of whole grain. Since the introduction of the oatmeal line in January 2011, the company has served more than 427 million servings of whole grain.
- Nutrition Information and Education – More than 290,000 people have downloaded McDonald's new mobile application that gives customers access to nutritional information.