Many consumers know that for over sixty years McDonald’s has been the fast-food industry market leader. Synonymous with convenience, taste, and price. However, few realize they also pioneered fast food health and wellness strategies. According to Mintel, a market intelligence agency, 33% of millennial parents are feeding their children healthier snacks. McDonald’s is an industry leader, but not what people usually associate with healthy snacking.
So, they started making certain changes to their food preparation technique and their menu. McDonald’s also partnered with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. In order to increase customer access to healthier foods and adopted “Simpler is Better” as a food philosophy.
Lastly, they made changes in regards to the options available for kids in their Happy Meal. Steven Hunter is the millennial professional who helped McDonald’s revolutionize health in the fast-food industry. By leading the market testing of a Happy Meal health and wellness initiative conducted eight years ago. Over time, the initiative saw McDonald’s introduced healthier options in the Happy Meal. Such as apple slices with low-fat caramel sauce, Go-Gurt, and Cuties mandarins instead of soda and french fries.
The case study
The case study started in Steven’s area of Jackson, Mississippi before spreading out to over 14,000 other locations nationwide. Steven credits his desire to put healthier options in the Happy Meal to his at the time, 23 nieces and nephews, who he now says he is proud to bring to McDonald’s because of the healthy changes they have made to the kid’s menu. Today, Steven hunter is the Public Relations & Brand Engagement Manager for McDonald’s U.S. Communications.
Hunter also reflects on his personal motivation to lead the team effort:
“The inspiration to work on Fruit in Every Happy Meal came from the 23 nieces and nephews I had at the time of the test. They have always been some of the biggest McDonald’s fans. Moreover, to help refresh the Happy Meal in a way that brought fruit to their favorite meal made me proud and gave me yet another reason to bring them to McDonald’s with me that much more often.”
Steven helped McDonald’s revolutionize fast food by leading through example. Since the inception of the plan, apple slices have been included in happy meals. They have been serving over 50 million tubes of low0fat Go-Gurt and 38 million cuties mandarins.