Last year, McDonald’s stopped selling soda and enormous servings of fries with their Happy Meals, and the world applauded loudly, which goes to show how low the bar really is. Since then, they’ve been playing it cool on the advertising front, mostly because parents don’t really cotton to fast food manufacturers directly advertising to children. But now they’re rolling out a new series of ads which are supposed to promote health, with health-oriented messages. Which is all well and good–except Happy Meals are still pretty unhealthy.
McDonald’s is well aware of how ads for kids are perceived–just look at this actual screencap from HappyMeal.com. But just pointing out isn’t assuaging many parents’ concerns. Advertising that is aimed directly at children has come under a lot of fire in the last decade, because the vast majority of it is designed to sell snacks, sugary cereal, and yes, fast food.
So it’s understandable that McD’s would be hesitant to bring their newfound message of health and wellness (hey, the Shamrock Shake, is back by the way. It’s green, so it must be healthy right?) to kids under the age of 10. Especially since their food items haven’t really changed that much. Sure, they’re doling out fewer fries and have apples, now, too, but have you actually examined what’s in a Happy Meal?
Whether it’s the fried, pressed chicken nuggets, the sugar-filled chocolate milk, or the sodium-dense burger patties, McDonald’s is still selling ultra-inexpensive, low-grade food–despite efforts to trim the fat content and lower the amount of salt in their food. They’re also still making it difficult for parents to see what exactly they’re feeding their children, because the McDonald’s nutrition website is really, really difficult to work with when it comes to kid’s food. And the “See What We’re Made Of Page”? It’s basically full of swear-we’re-local stories about small farmers–and not about, you know, whatever is replacing the “pink goop.”
Here are 5 items that come with the Happy Meals that McDonald’s is telling your children are part of a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
All images courtesy of McDonald’s