McDonald’s: Fewer Happy Meals Are Being Ordered With Sodas

Back in the fall of 2013, McDonald’s decided to jump on the healthyish bandwagon and stopped pushing sodas with Happy Meals, removing them from the menu and marketing materials but still providing them to customers who ordered them. That move has apparently worked to cut down on soda consumption at the Golden Arches, as the chain says fewer Happy Meals are being ordered with sodas.

McDonald’s says 48% of Happy Meal orders go out with sodas as a beverage in the U.S. since the sugary beverages were scrubbed from menus, displays and advertising for Happy Meals between July of last year and May, reports the Associated Press.

“I would expect that this would continue to go down,” said Julia Braun, director of nutrition at McDonald’s.

The results were part of a report commissioned by McDonald’s to keep an eye on its progress toward a promise it made in 2013 with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which was founded by the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association. Those organizations partnered with McDonald’s to announce its push toward Happy Meals with milk, water or juice as the best beverage options.

McDonald’s report on itself said it had complied with its vow to promote healthier options on Happy Meal packaging and to include positive nutrition messages when targeting kids with advertising.

A company called Keybridge conducted the report, which was based on surveys of 100 restaurants in the U.S. and 81 locations in Italy. One of its authors said the firm verified sales data on Happy Meal drinks with a McDonald’s supply chain manager.

“Other than that, we’re reliant on McDonald’s for providing the data,” he said.

McDonald’s didn’t proffer any historical data on how many Happy Meals used to come with sodas in the past. It did note that before booting sodas from kids’ menus, the percentage of Happy meals ordered with soda had remained constant for at least 18 months.

McDonald’s: Fewer Happy Meal orders opting for soda [Chicago Tribune]