McDonald's Drops Soda From Happy Meals; Offers Combo Fries Alternatives

McDonald's has announced that it will no longer offer soda with it its kids' Happy Meals. Instead, it will offer (and promote on its menu boards and in its advertising) only water, milk and juice with the meals.

The fast-food giant also committed to using Happy Meal and other packaging designs to "generate excitement" for fruit, vegetable, low/reduced-fat dairy, or water options for kids. It will include "fun or children's well-being messaging" on Happy Meal packaging and in all advertising directed to children.

In addition, in its value meals, McDonald's will now offer customers the option of replacing French fries with a side of salad, fruit or vegetable.

The changes will be implemented in 20 global markets, including the U.S., which comprise 85% of McDonalds's worldwide sales.

McDonald's initiatives are being made in partnership with The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association. The Alliance is working to combat childhood obesity. 

McDonald's president and CEO Don Thompson and former President Bill Clinton announced the partnership.

Margo G. Wootan, nutrition policy director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, released a statement praising the McDonald's initiatives. She added that the chain could go further to make its meals "less harmful" by continuing to reduce sodium, adding more whole wheat to buns, and phasing out 30- and 21-ounce soda sizes for adults. 

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