The American fast-food chain is well-known for its burgers, fries, and vibrant golden arches logo. For years, they have been known to be the world’s largest restaurant chain, having a branch in 119 nations. But did you know they attempted to go the healthy route by selling salads?
In 2004, McDonald’s tried to encourage its patrons to lead a healthy lifestyle by offering an adult “Happy Meal.” The meal included a salad, a fitness DVD, and a pedometer. But, sadly, sales flopped, and they stopped selling them.
When Did It All Start?
The fast-food giant started planning their Go Active! Adult Happy Meals for all their branches in the US. The goal was to promote a more healthy and active lifestyle. They released the meal in 2004. (Source: NBC News)
The initiative for a healthier menu stemmed from the negative reputation the fast-food industry has been getting for years. This was even more an issue when the documentary; Super Size Me by Morgan Spurlock came out. (Source: IMDB)
Because of these claims, there were several lawsuits against McDonald’s. The corporation decided to participate in an anti-obesity campaign and rolled out healthier choices, especially for their Happy Meals, which was patronized by children everywhere. Instead of soda, they offered apple juice. Instead of fries, they offered apple slices. (Source: NBC News)
How Well Did the “Go Active!” Campaign Turn Out?
The McDonald’s Go Active Meal came with water, salad, a booklet with exercise tips, and of course, a toy for the grown-ups – a pedometer priced for $5.99.
These meals were advertised to be for a limited time. But there were talks about making it a permanent part of the menu in the future if it does become a hit.
To fight obesity, McDonald’s also distributed brochures explaining how customers could modify their orders to be low-fat and essentially contain fewer calories.
Taking a lead role by helping educate its customers on this seriously important health issue.Tommy Thompson, HHS Secretary
While the initiative towards a healthier menu did make other people happy. The Go Active! Meals were discontinued. More issues need to be addressed in terms of how the food was prepared, more than just what their menu contained.
If McDonald’s wanted to improve the public’s health, in addition to providing the salads and bottled water, it could stop using partially hydrogenated oils in its fries, which contain trans fats and are a powerful promoter of heart disease.Michael Jacobson, Center for Science in the Public Interest
(Source: NBC News)
Were Salads Ever Served Again?
One thing we can truly appreciate is the fact that McDonald’s is actually different in each country. Sure they do have the regulars like McNuggets and Big Macs, but for the sake of cultural balance, most would have something close to their local flavors. That being said, some still serve salads.
However, since the pandemic started – McDonald’s salads have seemed to have disappeared everywhere, and it does seem that not too many people have been missing them. (Source: Business Insider)