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McDonald’s, like most fast-food restaurants, is under pressure to provide healthier meals.   McDonald’s recently announced that it would no longer market its less nutritional products to children, and would also offer fruits and vegetables in many of its adult menu combinations.  McDonald’s plans to make these changes in its top 20 markets; these markets account for 85% of its overall sales.  However, it will take three to seven years to implement these changes depending on the market.  These changes are part of McDonald’s strategy to reach health-conscious customers by offering more than just burgers and fries.  McDonalds was one of the first restaurants to add calorie contents to menu boards before it was a federal requirement.

Artcile 3Many customers in the millennial generation have yet to become loyal McDonald’s customers, favoring Panera and Chipotle instead.  Although McDonald’s added healthier options like salads, fruit, and raw vegetables  to reach the Millennials and other health-conscious consumers, its sales have been flat across much of the business.

McDonald’s will use all of the tools in its marketing arsenal to roll out these new initiatives.    McDonald’s has partnered with the Clinton Global Initiative on this project.  According to executives at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an organization set up by Clinton Foundation, McDonald’s can be a game-changer for shifting young people’s beliefs about health.  Mr. Clinton suggested that if other companies would follow McDonald’s lead, it could really make an impact on obesity efforts around the globe.

This new initiative will cost McDonald’s $35 million; however, the company believes it’s worth it to appeal to contemporary tastes and address health concerns about its current menu.  The new menu is also aimed at competing with Subway restaurant.  Burger King, another competitor of McDonald’s, recently unveiled reduced fat fries and a turkey burger to its menu.

In order to implement the new menu changes, McDonald’s will work closely with its suppliers to ensure that it can obtain enough produce to make the items on its menu.  McDonald’s aims to promote fruit and vegetables in “fun” ways, especially on its Happy Meals.  These messages will also include information about nutrition and well-being.

Discussion Questions:

How is McDonald’s changing its menu?

Why is it making these changes?

Do you eat at McDonald’s?  How might these changes affect your patronage behavior?


SOURCE:  Stephanie Strom, New York Times, September 26, 2013