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On National Public Radio (NPR), The Salt has a story about how McDonald’s is saying that “by the end of 2022, at least 50 percent or more of the kids meal options listed on menus will meet new global Happy Meal nutrition criteria: Meals will have 600 calories or less; no more than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat; no more than 650 mg sodium; and no more than 10 percent of calories from added sugar.”

The company also says that “it will aim to use its size and scale to leverage innovative marketing to "help serve more fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, lean protein and water in Happy Meals.”

While McDonald’s does not have immediate plans to offer Happy Meals in the US with alternatives to burgers and chicken nuggets, the story says that it is testing such options outside the US, such as vegetarian and vegan burgers that it is selling in some European markets. If successful, such items could find their way to US McDonald options in parts of Europe. “

This is part of a broader “better” approach being taken at McDonald’s. Bloomberg reports that the fast feeder “has made becoming a ‘credible chicken player’ one of its top priorities … McDonald’s has already taken steps to elevate its poultry, which was long seen as a serviceable if uninspiring part of the menu. It’s vowed to stop serving chicken with antibiotics and removed artificial preservatives from nuggets. The chain also rolled out Southern-style sandwiches and tenders, which are coated in a crispy buttermilk breading similar to Chick-fil-A.”

The stakes are high, the story says, “especially as consumers eat more chicken than ever before. Last year, they consumed 92 pounds on average, compared with less than 57 pounds of beef, according to estimates from the Department of Agriculture. At the same time, Tyson Foods Inc. and other chicken producers are investing in new processing plants, wagering that the meat will become an even bigger part of Americans’ diets.”
KC's View:
This is a reflection of where the world is going in general … and McDonald’s is to be commended for making these moves. I think the issue of quality is critical in its continued resurgence, and modeling its advances on the chicken sold by Chick-fil-A or the hamburgers sold by In ’N Out strikes me as a positive step.