McDonald's Commitments

Healthier Generation is collaborating with McDonald’s to increase families' access to healthier food and beverage options. As the largest quick-serve restaurant chain in the world, McDonald's has the distribution system and marketing power to promote healthier products on a scale that could dramatically improve the consumption patterns of millions of children and families.

2018 Global Happy Meal Goals Commitment

In 2018, Healthier Generation and McDonald’s announced that they were furthering their original collaboration (see 2013 commitment below) with new, bold steps to serve more fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, lean protein and water. The five new Global Happy Meal Goals, which McDonald’s has pledged to achieve by 2022, include global nutrition criteria to further reduce kids’ consumption of calories, fat, salt, and sugar from Happy Meal bundles.

Goal #1: Offer Balanced Meals: On the Happy Meal menu in the United States, McDonald’s will:

  • List only the following entrée choices: Hamburger, 4-piece and 6-piece Chicken McNuggets
  • Replace the small French fries with kids-sized fries in the 6-piece Chicken McNugget meal, which decreases the calories and sodium in the fries serving by half
  • Reformulate chocolate milk to reduce the amount of added sugar
  • Add bottled water as a beverage choice on Happy Meal menu boards

Goal #2: Simplify Ingredients: Continue efforts to remove artificial flavors and added colors from artificial sources, and reduce artificial preservatives. 

Goal #3: Be Transparent with Happy Meal Nutrition Information: Make nutrition information available for Happy Meal bundle offerings on McDonald’s owned websites and mobile apps used for ordering where they exist and as technologies change over time.

Goal #4: Market Responsibly: Ensure all Happy Meal bundles advertised to children will meet McDonald’s Global Happy Meal Nutrition Criteria (as stated in Goal #1) and continue to meet existing local/regional advertising pledges with respect to marketing to children, whichever is strictest.

Goal #5:  Increase Purchase of Foods and Beverages that Contain Recommended Food Groups in Happy Meals: Use innovative strategies to help serve more foods and beverages containing fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, lean protein and/or water within Happy Meals

2018 Global Happy Meal Goals Commitment Progress Reports
2013 Commitment

In 2013, Healthier Generation negotiated an unprecedented voluntary agreement with McDonald’s to increase their provision and marketing of fruits, vegetables, and healthier beverages, including removing soda from Happy Meal menu boards.

A five year progress report on the commitment showed that McDonald's had met or exceeded its targets for the number of countries fully implementing each of the five components of the commitment. As a result: 

  • Over 6.4 billion fruit, vegetable, low-fat dairy and water items were served in Happy Meals across the world.
  • In the United States, between 2013 and 2018, there was a 15 percentage point increase in the share of Happy Meals served with milk, water or juice.
  • Over 3.4 billion fruit, low-fat dairy and water items have been served in U.S. Happy Meals since 2013.
  • Over 250 million sides of apple slices were served in the U.S. in 2018 alone.


2013 Commitment Progress Reports

Evaluating Our Impact

Healthier Generation’s work with McDonald’s is rooted in the belief that collaboration between non-profits and the business sector can drive powerful change. To measure the impact of this collaboration, McDonald’s committed to participate in an independent process to regularly measure and verify the progress of its efforts.

Read a Q&A with third-party evaluator Keybridge about measuring the impact of these commitments.