warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

McDonald's To Sell Fruit, Vegetables

Madeline Morris |
September 30, 2013 | 9:39 p.m. PDT

Health and Fitness Editor

Will a little melon and kiwi make you feel less guilty about eating a Big Mac? (abcnews.go.com)
Will a little melon and kiwi make you feel less guilty about eating a Big Mac? (abcnews.go.com)
Some say that McDonald's signature Golden Arches are supposed to represent giant french fries. If so, the fast-food giant may have to replace their signature Arcs de Deux-Fries with a new healthier symbol. On September 26, McDonalds announced they would be providing fruits and vegetables as an optional substitute for their infamous salty fries. McDonald's Corp also plans to promote only water, milk and juice on its Happy Meals menus boards. They will, however, continue to sell soda. 

This announcement is just one of the many other health-related pledges McDonald's is vowing publicly. Furthering their cause, the fast-food powerhouse is partnering with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which is a non-profit founded by the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association to reduce childhood obesity. Former President Bill Clinton and Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, attended the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York City. 

Don Thompson, McDonald's President and CEO, was also there. McPresident promises that "this commitment reflects McDonald’s progress regarding nutrition and well-being. We will continue to use our size and scale around the world to help educate, empower and encourage our customers to make informed choices so they can live a balanced and healthy lifestyle.”

Mr. Clinton agrees, revealing in a news release, “If we want to curb the catastrophic economic and health implications of obesity across the world, we need more companies to follow McDonald’s lead and step up to the plate and make meaningful changes.” 

The move comes days after Burger King unveiled their new lower-fat and reduced-calorie french fries, calling them "Satisfries." Fast-food restaurants have been facing pressure from activists who want them to stop marketing to children and to improve the nutritional content of meals. 

Thompson pointed to previous efforts in the mid 2000's that McDonald's made to promote milk by advertising it more and using colorful containers. According to Thompson, the nation's milk sales have increased by 50% since then.

And this won't be the first time fruit makes an appearance at McDonald's. In 2011, McDonald's began including apple slices in Happy Meals for free (along with the fries) free of charge. Around the same time, healthier choices like whole grain oatmeal, fruit smoothies and egg white McMuffins were made available. McDonald's plans to sell kiwi on sticks, melon and pineapple as part of their new initiative. 

McDonald's healthier menu is set to launch very soon, kicking it off with a huge advertising effort in their biggest 20 markets, which collectively represent more than 85 percent of McDonald’s global sales. Let’s hope these hefty pledges ignite significant change. But in any event, these actions are steps in the right direction.

Reach Editor Madeline Morris here, follow her here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.