McDonald’s is the fast food giant many of us love to hate and for some critics, the company is synonymous with its PETA-given nickname “McCruelty”.
Recently though, at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, McDonald’s Corp. revealed their plans to offer fruits, salads and vegetable choices with their value menu meals.
This decision comes in response to a dip in sales and a growing demand for the fast food industry to address the global obesity epidemic, which is especially problematic in the U.S. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, over one-third of Americans are obese and about 10 percent of the country’s healthcare bill comes from obesity-related diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, reports Reuters.
So, is the world’s leading fast food chain finally going healthy? Well, not quite.
Much like Burger King, that now offers “healthier” fries, McDonald’s wants to appear as if they too are making strides in offering better meals to customers. And sure, we can applaud McDonald’s and even Burger King for trying to be better and healthier, but deep down I just can’t shake the feeling that all this health hoopla is just for show.
This year, McDonald’s began to offer meals under a new “Favorites Under 400 Calories” label and has also started selling egg-white sandwiches and chicken wraps in an effort to look healthy. Yet, in just the past month, the company has also added new high-calorie, fat-saturated products to their menu including fried chicken wings at 480 calories for just five pieces and a 680 calorie steak, egg and cheese bagel, reports Bloomberg.
What’s more, their current menu boasts a double quarter pounder burger of 750 calories and a premium crispy chicken sandwich at 510 calories, not to mention a plethora of sugary, high-calorie drinks.
“We want to make sure we provide you the options so you can come in and get whatever you want at McDonald’s,” CEO Don Thompson said at the Clinton Global Initiative via Bloomberg. “So one day get that Big Mac; it’s only 540 calories. Another day, you might want to get that grilled chicken salad.”
And now you can feel “healthy” by choosing fruit, veggies or a salad instead of greasy fries to go with that 750-calorie double quarter pounder! So revolutionary, right?!
What McDonald’s is doing with healthier options and sides feels eerily similar to what soda companies did a while back with the introduction of diet beverages. Just because something is marketed as healthier, doesn’t mean it is.
True, fruit, veggies and salads are indeed far more wholesome than French fries, but will they be GMO-laden? Who knows. And anyways, do customers really go to McDonald’s for “healthy” options? Their fries are called “World Famous” for a reason.
McDonald’s new healthy side options will be introduced to 20 of its biggest markets around the world, which make up 85 percent of McDonald’s total sales, reports The Huffington Post. The change will start within the next three years and be completed by the year 2020.
The company also announced that it will now only advertise water, milk and juice for its kids’ Happy Meals. (Probably in response to this recent report.)
Regardless of what McDonald’s offers and advertises, it is up to us, the consumers, to choose options that are better for our health. The occasional indulgence is fine, but we can’t allow ourselves to be swayed into purchasing McDonald’s more often simply because some of their sides and kids’ drinks are healthier. At the end of the day, a burger and apple slices are just not a sustainable combination.
Image source: Aneil Lutchman/Flickr