McDonald’s Rallies Behind Lighter Fare

Jun 25, 2002

McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada has become the first McDonald’s to offer a full ‘Lighter Choices’ menu, backing it with one of the biggest mixed-media launch campaigns ever run by the restaurant chain in Canada. The Lighter Choices ad budget is expected to reach more than $6.5 million by year-end.

The Canadian Lighter Choices menu includes a Mandarin California Greens Salad, a Roasted Vegetable Salad with Chicken and Chicken Caesar Salad, as well as a regular Garden Salad. Other light items include a McVeggie Burger (featuring Yves soy protein patty) and a Chicken McGrill, both on whole-wheat buns; and a Fruit ‘n’ Yogurt Parfait, a breakfast/snack/dessert product with Danone low-fat vanilla yogurt, fresh strawberries and blueberries, topped with granola. All salad dressings are low or no fat.

Other fast food competitors in Canada, such as Tim Horton’s and Subway, have recently been promoting their expanded menus and healthy choices. Tim Horton’s recently announced an additional 170 to 180 new retail outlets as well as its expectations to take the top fast food spot from McDonald’s.

Meanwhile, back in the U.S., McDonald’s grilled chicken flatbread sandwich has created such a stir with customers that the chain advised its restaurants to take down in-store promotional materials so they wouldn’t run out, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. “We are working with our (flatbread) suppliers and owner/operators around the clock to increase supply levels, and we expect to be back aggressively marketing this great sandwich soon,” says McDonald’s spokeswoman Anna Rozenich.

The grilled flatbread item, introduced earlier this month as part of the company’s rotating “new tastes menu,” is scheduled to be phased out in August. Several franchisees say they may lobby to keep it around.

Moderator Comment: Should McDonald’s offer its full
lighter meals menu in all its locations?

In light of the heat that Mickey D’s and other fast feeders
are taking for super sizing consumers into obesity, an alternate menu emphasizing
food that is good for you seems a no-brainer. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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