Not every Happy Meal is regarded as such.
At the company’s annual shareholders meeting last week in Oak Brook, Ill., a 9-year-old girl named Hannah Robertson (photographed above) flew in with her mother from Kelowna, British Columbia to give McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson an earful, asking why there weren’t healthier options on the menu for kids,
“Something that I don’t think is fair is when big companies try to trick kids into eating food that isn’t good for them by using toys and cartoon characters,” said Robertson, whose mother started an online eating healthy game called “Today I Ate a Rainbow” in 2009 and is a nutrition blogger. “It would be nice if you stopped trying to trick kids into wanting to eat your food all the time. I make cooking videos with my mom that show kids that eating healthy can be fun and yummy. We teach them that eating a rainbow of fruits and veggies makes kids healthier, smarter and happier because that is the truth…Mr. Thompson, don’t you want kids to be healthy so they can live a long and happy life?”
“We don’t sell junk food, Hannah,” said Thompson, adding that his own kids were reared on grub from the Golden Arches and still enjoy a home-cooked meal.
“My kids also eat McDonald’s. When they were about your size, to my son who is with us today, who was a little bit bigger, he was a football player, and also they cook with me at home,” he said. “I love to cook. We cook a lot of fruits and veggies at home.”
While McDonald’s has implemented cost-friendly choices such as the Dollar Menu in the past and have added apples to Happy Meals, fruit platters and salads, it has been highly criticized for its role in the country’s obesity epidemic.
“We provide high quality food,” said Thompson, who defended his brand against a doctor who asked the company to stop marketing to children. “We always have; it’s real beef, it’s real chicken, it’s real tomatoes, real lettuce, real fruit, real smoothies, real dairy, real eggs, and we do it in a way that is also affordable.”
Photo Credit: Corporate Accountability International