Have you ever noticed that there seems to be a McDonald's on every corner? When you do give into the adolescent pleas for their favorite food and ask a child what they want 9 times out of 10 they will say, "hamburger, french-fries and a toy."
Sure, it is a great treat for any child to go to McDonald's for a Happy Meal. The fact that the food is sinfully tasty is great, but the toy inside makes all of the difference. This is a hook to get your kids locked in. While a toddler may not remember what hamburger is the best, you had better believe they will remember that toy! On another note, McDonald's is "the largest distributor of toys in the world"even surpassing Mattel and Hasbro.
McDonald's targets your children with it's marketing strategy, period. It is working too. Statistics prove that 40% of children who range in ages from 2 to 11 ask at least once a week to go to McDonald's. As many as 15% of preschool age children ask daily.
In 2006 Disney eliminated their partnership with McDonald's after a 10 year relationship. Disney said in a statement that, "Disney is a company that prides itself on being family friendly, and we want to distance our brand from fast foods that link to childhood obesity." They no longer sell McDonald's foods within their theme parks either.
In 2011 San Francisco tried to have the ability for companies like these marketing to children banned, but it was unsuccessful. The movement would have required any meal containing a toy to meet nutritional values.
McDonald's did add healthier options for children s Happy Meals, but even those are not good for them according to nutritional values.
One McDonald's representative said that, " the automatic inclusion of apple slices, smaller fries and the option of choosing fat-free milk makes the most popular Happy Meals have an average of 20 percent fewer calories than the most popular meals previously had."
Irregardless, the meals are still around 600 calories each which has been deemed by professionals as being entirely too much for a small child.
Parents are waking up, because Happy Meals sales are gradually dropping. Eating healthy is becoming a bigger deal, and the movement battling childhood obesity is taking hold.
So, next time your child wants to go to McDonald's, opt for a healthier item on the menu and buy the toy. It comes out to be about the same price as the Happy Meal and a whole lot healthier.
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