McDonald's® Announces Industry Leading Customer Initiative
Nutrition Information Will Be Added to Food Packaging in Unique, User-Friendly Format
Oct 25, 2005
As part of a global commitment to promote balanced, active lifestyles, McDonald's Corporation today announced an innovative approach to further communicate nutrition information to its customers around the world. Nutrition information will now be displayed on the majority of McDonald's product packaging using an easy-to-understand icon and bar chart format. This step, a first for the quick-service restaurant industry, is the latest transparency initiative in the company's 30-year record of providing nutrition information to help customers make informed choices.
The new packaging will be rolled out beginning in the first half of 2006 in restaurants in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America. McDonald's is currently working with its packaging suppliers to ramp up production to meet the demands of this new worldwide packaging program. By the end of 2006, McDonald's plans to have nutrition information featured on packaging in more than 20,000 of its restaurants. The remaining restaurants will implement nutrition information on packaging as it becomes locally relevant and commercially feasible. The new packaging will debut at McDonald's restaurants at the Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy in February.
"Customers are coming to McDonald's in record numbers, and we take their trust in our Brand very seriously. That's why we want them to have easy-to- understand nutrition information about our great-tasting food and wide range of menu options. We are putting the information customers need literally into their hands," said Jim Skinner, McDonald's Chief Executive Officer. "This initiative makes it easier than ever to understand the quality that goes into our food. We're very confident that the more information people have, the more they will like what they see at McDonald's."
The New Format
The new format converts scientific information into a customer-friendly snapshot of a product's nutrition value and how it relates to daily nutrient recommendations using bar charts and icons. The icons represent the five elements that experts agree are most relevant to consumer understanding of nutrition -- calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates and sodium. Additional background will be added to McDonald's websites and restaurant materials to familiarize customers with this new format and how they can apply it to their daily lives.
"There is nothing more important to McDonald's than building customer trust and loyalty around the world. We listen closely to our customers so we know how important transparency is, which is what this initiative is all about," said Mike Roberts, McDonald's President and Chief Operating Officer. "Adding nutrition information to our packaging will help our customers meet their individual taste preferences and nutrition requirements, as well as choose from our menu of quality food and portion sizes."
Customer input led the decision to implement this program on a broad scale. Based on research, concepts were developed and tested in several hundred McDonald's restaurants around the world. Test results in Colombia, Hong Kong, Scotland, Shanghai, Spain and the U.S. indicated that customers liked the approach. They confirmed that McDonald's icons and bar charts communicated the nutrition information quickly and simply.
Beyond consumer tests, this initiative was guided by input from outside experts from around the world, including government officials, academic researchers, and health and nutrition authorities. Additionally, McDonald's consulted with the European Nutritionists Steering Group, consisting of nutrition professionals from McDonald's largest European markets, and the McDonald's Global Advisory Council on Balanced, Active Lifestyles (GAC), a group of independent advisors in the areas of nutrition, public health and fitness.
Dr. Louis Sullivan, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, President Emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine and a member of McDonald's GAC, said, "McDonald's has long played a leadership role in providing nutrition information. In the early 1990's, when our government introduced new nutrition labeling for packaged goods in the U.S., I was impressed by the way McDonald's helped familiarize consumers with this new information. Using their restaurant trayliners, they reached millions of people to help educate them about the labels. Now McDonald's has done it again. Their creative approach is scientifically sound and communicates complex information in a clear and accessible way."
Dr. Paul Gately, Professor of Exercise and Obesity at Leeds Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom and also a member of McDonald's GAC, stated, "As a health professional, I welcome this useful tool and will use it in our work with families. Our goal is to assist them with often confusing information and help empower them to lead balanced and active lifestyles. This new format is clear and understandable and I can see its potential beyond McDonald's. I hope others in the restaurant and food industries follow their lead."
McDonald's will continue to work closely with scientists, key government officials, and outside experts to ensure the new nutrition information meets local guidelines and is appropriately adapted for local relevance. For example, in the U.S. and Canada, the official Nutrition Facts panel that has appeared on packaged foods for years also will be featured on McDonald's packaging along with the icons and bar chart. Additionally, McDonald's Europe will be the first in the restaurant industry to include pan-European nutrition reference values, called Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs), as part of its nutrition information outreach to adults and children.
When implemented, the majority of McDonald's packaging will include nutrition information, with a few exceptions. For example, packaging used in short-term promotions, and wrappers and containers used for multiple products cannot feature product specific nutrition information. In these instances, customers will be directed to McDonald's website or to in-restaurant materials for the nutrition information they need.
Restaurants in Australia and Brazil already provide a form of nutrition information on their product packaging. McDonald's 13,000 U.S. restaurants also feature nutrition information on Happy Meal® boxes and bags.
McDonald's is the leading foodservice retailer with more than 30,000 local restaurants serving quality food to nearly 50 million people in more than 100 countries each day. Approximately 70 percent of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent, local businessmen and women.Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19990916/MCDLOGO
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