| Sept 26
Sept 26 Hold the fries, pass the salad.
McDonald's Corp on Thursday said it would offer healthy
options as part of its popular value meals, letting customers
choose a side salad, fruit or vegetables instead of french
The announcement by the world's largest fast-food chain
comes as more companies respond to government and consumer
pressure to address the global obesity epidemic.
McDonald's, which often bears the brunt of criticism over
the restaurant industry's penchant for tempting diners with
indulgent and often high-calorie food, said it would offer the
option in all of its 20 major global markets by 2020.
McDonald's also vowed to promote and market only water, milk
and juice as the beverages in its popular Happy Meals for
children as part of its announcement at the Clinton Global
Initiative annual meeting in New York on Thursday.
Waist sizes around the world are increasing, setting off
alarms in public health circles.
In recent years, the U.S. food industry has begun yielding
to pressure from government, parents and consumers seeking to
slim down adults and children. Sugary sodas have been yanked
from public schools; sugar, sodium and calorie levels have been
reduced in products, and calorie counts have been posted on some
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nonprofit
that has tangled with McDonald's over everything from fattening
food to the marketing of Happy Meals, approved of the company's
move to add more fruits and vegetables to the menu. Still, it
says the company and its rivals have a long way to go in terms
of offering healthier options.
"McDonald's slow march toward healthier meals made a major
advance today, but a long road lies ahead for the company," CSPI
said in a statement.
McDonald's is seen as something of a trend setter among
restaurant chains, but like many of its peers, it has tended to
resist external efforts to force change.
About one year ago McDonald's said it would begin listing
calorie information on menus in some 14,000 U.S. restaurants and
drive-throughs -- ahead of a national rule that would require
larger restaurant chains to make such disclosures but months
after other chains embraced the idea.
In July 2011 it tweaked its popular Happy Meals for children
- reducing the french fries portion by more than half and adding
apples to every order. The move came after pressure from CSPI,
parent groups and others.
More than one-third of Americans are obese, and about 10
percent of the nation's healthcare bill is tied to
obesity-related illnesses, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart
disease and hypertension, according to the Organization for
Economic Co-operation and Development.
McDonald's said its announcement is part of a plan developed
with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which was founded
by the Clinton Foundation and American Heart Association, to
increase customers' access to fruit and vegetables and help
families and children to make informed eating and lifestyle