McDonald’s USA Adding Calorie Counts to Menu Boards in Houston, Texas Innovating With Recommended Food Groups, Publishes Nutrition Progress Report

Style News Wire | 9/13/2012, 10:29 p.m.
Today, McDonald’s announced that, starting this month, the company will list calorie information on restaurant and drive-thru menus nationwide, including ...

Today, McDonald’s announced that, starting this month, the company will list calorie information on restaurant and drive-thru menus nationwide, including Houston, to further inform and help customers and employees make nutrition-minded choices.

In addition to menu board labeling, McDonald’s published its first-ever nutrition progress report [www.mcdonalds.com/changing] and revealed several 2013 menu innovations in test that will include recommended food groups from the United States Department of Agriculture’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans reflected in the messages supporting MyPlate. These are the latest in a series of actions to support McDonald’s “Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices,” announced July 2011. The comprehensive plan aims to help customers and employees make informed nutrition choices whether visiting McDonald’s or eating elsewhere.

Menu Board Labeling to Inform Customer Choices

“At McDonald’s, we recognize customers want to know more about the nutrition content of the food and beverages they order,” said Nelly Quijano, McDonald’s Operators Association of Greater Houston (MOAGH) Co-op President. “As a company that has provided nutrition information for more than 30 years, we are pleased to add to the ways we make nutrition information available to our customers and employees in Houston and throughout the U.S.”

According to recent research by the International Food Information Council Foundation, about 15 percent of Americans accurately estimate the number of calories they need to maintain their weight. This past summer, McDonald’s introduced a “Favorites Under 400” menu that highlights the calorie information for some of customers’ favorite foods and beverages to help put calorie counts in better context.

Later this fall, approximately 14,000 employees in the Houston area, among the 750,000 employees nationwide, working in U.S. McDonald’s and its franchisee restaurants will be introduced to a voluntary nutrition e-learning program. The program will help build employees’ knowledge of calories, nutrition and McDonald’s menu offerings.

“The transparency and availability of nutrition information enables consumers to make choices and can help caregivers teach and model decision-making behavior to children. These are life skills that will benefit them not only at McDonald’s but in every aspect of life,” said Judith C. Rodriguez, PhD, RD, LD/N, FADA, Chairperson and Professor, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Brooks College of Health.  “McDonald’s initiatives to provide Apple Slices and a fat-free milk option in the Happy Meals are aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, as is the goal to reduce sodium, added sugars and saturated fats in foods.”

2013 Menu Tests Include More Recommended Food Groups

To make nutritious choices more convenient and accessible, McDonald’s revealed plans today to test foods that would increase the number of wholesome choices on its menu. The menu items being explored for 2013 include more recommended food groups. Among the additions being tested:

  • More seasonal fruit and vegetables options, such as blueberries and cucumbers, during peak seasons
  • Additional produce side options and grilled chicken choices for Happy Meals
  • The McWrap, inspired by McDonald’s Europe, features fresh vegetables and is available in three flavors – Chicken & Bacon, Sweet Chili Chicken, and Chicken & Ranch – starting at 350 calories
  • New breakfast choices, including an egg-white breakfast sandwich on an English muffin made with 8 grams of whole grain.