Millions of young people are growing up in communities lacking fresh fruits and vegetables. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 60 percent of children do not eat enough fruit to meet daily recommendations and 93 percent of children do not eat enough vegetables.
That is why the Alliance partnered with McDonald’s to increase access to healthier food and drink options for families. McDonald’s, as the largest quick-serve food brand in the world by far, has the food distribution system in place and the marketing power to promote healthier products on a scale that could dramatically improve children and families’ food and beverage consumption.
The latest progress report, prepared by Keybridge LLC, a Washington-DC based economic and public policy consulting firm, summarizes progress through 2016 for thirteen markets and implementation was verified with independently collected data, including surveys of randomly sampled restaurants. The progress report shows McDonald’s continues to meet or exceed its commitments to the Alliance for Healthier Generation to increase access to healthier food and drink options for families.
Fruit, Vegetable & Low-fat Dairy Options Increased
McDonald's utilized their marketing, packaging and side offerings to generate excitement for fruits, vegetable and low-fat yogurt options. 716 million new fruit, vegetable, or low-fat dairy side items were served in Happy Meals and a la carte across 13 participating markets between 2014 and 2016.
More Happy Meals Served with Milk and Juice, Less with Soda
The percentage of Happy Meal customers selecting milk, water & juice rather than soda increased by 9.4 percentage points across twelve markets from 2013 to 2016.
Two thirds of that change – 6.2 percentage points – occurred in the 12 months after soda listings were removed from the Happy Meal section of menu boards.