McDonald’s USA Expanding Calorie Counts to All Menu Boards Across New York Tri-State Area, Innovating with Recommended Food Groups, Publishes Nutrition Progress Report
ISELIN, N.J., Sept. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Today, McDonald’s announced that the company will expand the listing of calorie information on restaurant and drive-thru menus nationwide. As of September 17, the 600 McDonald’s restaurants throughout the New York Tri-State will also post calories to further inform and help customers and employees make nutrition-minded choices. McDonald’s restaurants in New York City, Westchester, Suffolk, Nassau and Ulster began posting calorie counts in 2008.
In addition to menu board labeling, McDonald’s published its first-ever nutrition progress report [www.mcdonalds.com/changing] and revealed several 2013 menu innovations in test that will include recommended food groups from the United States Department of Agriculture’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans reflected in the messages supporting MyPlate. These are the latest in a series of actions to support McDonald’s “Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices,” announced July 2011. The comprehensive plan aims to help customers and employees make informed nutrition choices whether visiting McDonald’s or eating elsewhere.
Menu Board Labeling to Inform Customer Choices
“At McDonald’s, we have been committed to providing nutrition information to our customers for more than 30 years,” said Tony Scari, president of the McDonald’s New York Tri-State Area Owner/Operators Association. “We are pleased to continue to build upon this commitment to nutrition through local programs such as our Nutrition Network that awards seed funding to local non-profits for nutrition education programs.”
“Extending the availability of nutrition information on menu boards across the New York Tri-State and the U.S. is just another example of our commitment to helping our customers make wholesome choices,” added Scari.
According to recent research by the International Food Information Council Foundation, about 15 percent of Americans accurately estimate the number of calories they need to maintain their weight. This past summer, McDonald’s introduced a “Favorites Under 400″ menu that highlights the calorie information for some of customers’ favorite foods and beverages to help put calorie counts in better context.
Later this fall, approximately 31,000 employees in the New York Metro area, among the 750,000 employees nationwide, working in U.S. McDonald’s and its franchisee restaurants will be introduced to a voluntary nutrition e-learning program. The program will help build employees’ knowledge of calories, nutrition and McDonald’s menu offerings.
“The transparency and availability of nutrition information enables consumers to make choices and can help caregivers teach and model decision-making behavior to children. These are life skills that will benefit them not only at McDonald’s but in every aspect of life,” said Judith C. Rodriguez, PhD, RD, LD/N, FADA, Chairperson and Professor, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Brooks College of Health. “McDonald’s initiatives to provide Apple Slices and a fat-free milk option in the Happy Meals are aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, as is the goal to reduce sodium, added sugars and saturated fats in foods.”
2013 Menu Tests Include More Recommended Food Groups
To make nutritious choices more convenient and accessible, McDonald’s revealed plans today to test foods that would increase the number of wholesome choices on its menu. The menu items being explored for 2013 include more recommended food groups. Among the additions being tested:
- More seasonal fruit and vegetables options, such as blueberries and cucumbers, during peak seasons
- Additional produce side options and grilled chicken choices for Happy Meals
- The McWrap, inspired by McDonald’s Europe, features fresh vegetables and is available in three flavors – Chicken & Bacon, Sweet Chili Chicken, and Chicken & Ranch – starting at 350 calories
- New breakfast choices, including an egg-white breakfast sandwich on an English muffin made with 8 grams of whole grain
New McDonald’s Report Measures Company’s Nutrition Progress
McDonald’s published its first nutrition report today, “McDonald’s USA Nutrition Journey: 2012 Progress Report,” which measures McDonald’s nutrition performance over the past year. Ernst & Young LLP conducted an independent examination of McDonald’s progress against its commitment goals. Report highlights focus on three key nutrition commitments:
- Children’s Well-Being – McDonald’s new Happy Meal launched in March 2012 and now automatically includes Apple Slices, and a kids-size fry. Fat-free chocolate milk was also added as an additional beverage choice. More than 90 percent of McDonald’s paid national Happy Meal television advertising since March 2012 has included a positive nutrition and/or active lifestyle message for kids. Additional communication vehicles like the Happy Meal box and happymeal.com website also now provide kids and families with messages on nutrition or being active. McDonald’s advertising has focused on building kids’ enthusiasm for fruits and other choices that meet the nutritional criteria outlined in the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) Food Pledge.
- Nutritionally Balanced Menu Choices – The new Happy Meal is anticipated to introduce about 100 million cups of apples annually into the diets of our youngest customers. Since February 2011, McDonald’s has reduced sodium across its national core menu of food choices by more than 11 percent. In total, 38 of McDonald’s 75 total national food items had a reduction in sodium, ranging from 1 percent to 35 percent. In addition, each of McDonald’s oatmeal provides two servings of whole grain. Since the introduction of the oatmeal line in January 2011, the company sold more than 427 million servings of whole grains.
- Nutrition Information and Education – More than 290,000 people have downloaded McDonald’s new mobile application that gives customers access to nutritional information.
“We’ve made a lot of good progress toward our nutrition commitments and we recognize there’s still more to do,” said Senior Director of Nutrition for McDonald’s USA Dr. Cindy Goody, PhD, MBA, RD. “As we continue to accelerate our nutrition-related efforts, we’re dedicated to offering balanced menu options and making nutrition information accessible to employees of McDonald’s, its franchisees and today’s busy customers.”
About McDonald’s Nutrition Commitments and Report
In July 2011, McDonald’s announced its Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices. A full copy of McDonald’s 2012 nutrition report – measuring the company’s performance toward these commitments – is available at www.McDonald’s.com/Changing. McDonald’s will continue to collaborate with credible third-party organizations to examine the company’s performance against its commitments and progress will continue to be reported publicly.
ABOUT McDONALD’S NEW YORK TRI-STATE RESTAURANTS:
McDonald’s is one of the world’s best-known brands and is a global leader in food service. There are more than 600 McDonald’s restaurants, owned by over 100 franchisees, located throughout the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut Tri-State area. Visit www.McDonaldsNYTriState.com or follow us on Twitter @McDNYTriState for information about other McDonald’s area programs.
SOURCE McDonald’s New York Tri-State Restaurants