McDonald’s SA: no immediate plans for low fat-menu

Despite moves in the US to make McDonald’s happy meals healthier, South African outlets will not follow suit. The healthy changes to the fast food chain’s US menu will drop the average calorie content in their meals by about 20%.

A TimesLive report quotes, Jane Badham, well-known Johannesburg dietitican and nutrition consultant, as saying that “supersizing is a major issue” and that “obesity is an increasing problem in South Africa”.

She says that McDonald’s cheaper combo meals, which included a burger, chips and a sugary soft drink, encouraged people to eat more unnecessary calories.

US first lady Michelle Obama welcomed McDonald’s announcement, saying that the fast food outlet was making “continued progress by providing more fruit and reducing the calories”.

The updated McDonald’s menu in the US will almost halve the size of its French fries (chips) holders and add healthier foods such as raisins, apple and pineapple slices and carrots to its meals from next month.

Though McDonald’s SA says it was “excited” by the US counterpart’s move, it did not say if there were plans to introduce healthy products in South Africa.

In a statement, McDonald’s SA says it was “watching these latest developments in the US with interest, mindful that any local adaptations in the future would be undertaken in a manner best suited to local market conditions”.

But Badham says that adding healthy options to fast food menus was merely “window dressing” because “in South Africa, [healthy options] don’t get chosen”.

“Less than half of South Africans are getting even half of the five fruit and vegetables a day that they require. By the time a consumer makes a choice that they’re going to eat fast food, they have already made the decision not to eat healthily,” she adds.

Source: TimesLive