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Is Fast Food Going Healthy? McDonald’s to Roll Out Oatmeal

First it was smoothies, now it’s oatmeal. Is McDonald’s going healthy?

Last summer McDonald’s launched their new fruit smoothies made with “real fruit, yogurt and ice.” According to McDonald’s the fruit is “picked at the peak of ripeness and pureed immediately” then mixed with “real yogurt.” The program was so successful that the company had to suspend their introductory sample program and went directly into regular sales.

Now the company is planning a national advertising campaign beginning in early January to promote its maple-flavored oatmeal with diced red and green apples, a mix of raisins and cranberries, and cream for $1.99.

Recently the San Francisco’s board of supervisors city council took the company to task by voting to ban the majority of McDonald’s existing Happy Meals. Under the new measure, San Francisco restaurants will be forbidden from offering free toys with meals that exceed certain limits on calories, fat, and sugar and do not include fruits or vegetables.

Until now the company has pledged to improve its marketing to children, yet increased the volume of TV advertising aimed at preschoolers and children. From 2007 to 2009, preschoolers saw 21% more ads and children viewed 26% more ads from McDonald’s.

And, when ordering a kids’ meal, restaurant employees at McDonald’s automatically served french fries or another unhealthy side dish more than 84% of the time. A healthy beverage was offered less than 50% of the time. This is healthy eating? (For more information about fast food marketing, download the Yale Rudd Center report: Evaluating Fast Food Nutrition and Marketing to Youth.)

Let us see if the company begins to walk its talk and really offer healthy food.

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