McDonald's just announced a major Happy Meal revamp that involves taking some items, including cheeseburgers and chocolate milk, off of the official menu.
The golden-arched giant is looking to make their Happy Meals more healthy, and is pushing to get them all under 600 calories by June 2018. The extra slice of cheese on a McDonald's hamburger adds 50 calories and 3 grams of fat, which apparently pushes it over the caloric limit on the Happy Meal. In addition, chocolate milk will be taken off the official menu, bottled water will be a featured beverage, and a kids-sized fries will be introduced for the 6-piece McNuggets meal.
Additionally, McDonald's will be looking at removing as many artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives as possible from their kid's meals, although there's no timetable on when those will be taken out or how many the chain is looking to cut from their ingredients list.
McDonald's claims that all of these changes will bring about average reductions of 20% in calories, 50% in added sugars, 13% in saturated fat, and 17% in sodium. The Happy Meal revamp comes as a result of consumer demand for healthier options for kids, according to Bloomberg. With saturated fat and added sugars being typical markers for "unhealthiness," the sharp reductions in those should help McDonald's boost the health image of their Happy Meals.
The Happy Meals haven't been heavily advertised by McDonald's for a while (their most recent Instagram post of them being in 2014). However, their inclusion on the new Dollar Menu has increased exposure of the kid's meal to the public. Making the health-related changes to the Happy Meal now means that McDonald's can gain publicity for their healthy kids initiative and boost the number of value menu transactions to start off 2018. It's a win-win for both kids, who get more nutritious food, and McDonald's, who can capitalize from both a PR and financial standpoint.
For those wondering about where the cheeseburger and chocolate milk are going, they will still be available. You can request them as options for a Happy Meal despite them not being on the official menu. A McDonald's representative has confirmed to Foodbeast that those swaps will come at no additional charge.