Menu advances highlight McDonald's progress
by Eric Schroeder
OAK BROOK, ILL. — The inclusion of fruit in every Happy Meal served in U.S. and Latin America restaurants along with a pledge to limit all combinations of the Happy Meal in Latin America to less than 600 calories are among the goals for McDonald’s Corp. during 2012, according to the company’s just released 2011 Global Sustainability Scorecard.
The 2011 scorecard highlights the company’s progress in five priority areas, including significant advancements related to menu evolution and sustainable sourcing, while outlining some of the company’s goals for the coming year.
In the area of nutrition and well-being, McDonald’s said it has made headway both in its base market menu and its Happy Meals. The company said the average number of items, per market menu, that contain at least half a serving of fruit or vegetables totaled 15.8 in 2010, up from 9.9 items in 2006.
Currently, more than 95% of McDonald’s restaurants around the world offer Happy Meals with sides of fruit, vegetable or low-fat dairy as an option, and by the end of March 2012 McDonald’s said fruit automatically will be included in every Happy Meal served in U.S. and Latin America restaurants.
Additional changes, including a new smaller size of french fries only available in Happy Meals, will result in reductions in calories and fat for Happy Meals. In Canada, meanwhile, every Happy Meal will feature a yogurt, as well as a choice of a new small fry or apples, by the end of 2012.
“By changing the Happy Meal to always include fruit, McDonald’s is making it fun and easy for kids to eat foods that are good for them,” said Greg Watson, vice-president of menu and nutrition strategy/stakeholder engagement at McDonald’s. “We want to support parents and be part of the solution — helping champion generations of healthier, happier kids.”
McDonald’s also has taken steps beyond the Americas to improve the nutrition of its Happy Meals. The company said carrot sticks are offered in 23 countries, including Australia and France, while corn cups are offered in 13 markets. In Italy, McDonald’s conducted a successful promotion featuring peeled kiwi on a stick as a Happy Meal option.
The 2011 scorecard also highlighted progress made in McDonald’s sustainable supply chain, including the fact that 37% of the restaurant chain’s packaging was derived from certified sources in 2010, up from 31% in 2009.
All fish for McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwich is wild caught, and currently 99% is sourced from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified fisheries.
These actions are aligned with the company’s focus on leveraging its brand recognition and core competencies as a food company to influence wide-reaching and sustainable change.
“We will continue to use our size, scope, and talent to make a positive difference for children, families and communities around the world,” said Jim Skinner, chief executive officer. “Doing so creates value for both our company and our stakeholders.”
In addition to food and food sourcing, McDonald’s continues to focus on, and achieve measurable progress in, three other areas central to its sustainability strategy — environmental responsibility, employee experience and community.
In 2011, McDonald’s developed stronger energy-related metrics, with a focus on company-owned restaurants. The company said its top nine major markets made significant improvements in energy data gathering and reporting capabilities.
The company also made available for purchase more than 90 pieces of more energy-efficient equipment to the McDonald’s system, as well as introduced “energy bundles” — packages of recommended restaurant improvements that combine simple changes like energy-efficient lighting with newer tools such as occupancy sensors.
Looking toward 2012, McDonald’s said it will continue to advance goals and targets for mainstreaming sustainability in all five focus areas and reporting progress along the global journey.
“We will continue to mainstream sustainability into our day-to-day business, bring value to the communities we serve, and value to our company through efficiencies, innovations and consumer relevance,” said Bob Langert, global vice-president of sustainability.
For the complete scorecard, visit www.aboutmcdonalds.com.