It looks like McDonald’s is going through some sort of revamp, as for the past few months it showed increasing interest to being “healthier”. This Wednesday, McDonald’s announced it plans to highlight calorie counts in its U.S. restaurants.
While it’s obvious McDonald’s is the trendsetter in the fast food industry, don’t just start glorifying it before knowing a thing or two. For the past few months, McDonald’s has been trying hard to minimize the negative view people had of its food. It also tried to tie any links to obesity saying people know what they eat. Highlighting the calorie counts in its products isn’t even a voluntary decision.
A few places in the United States, like the state of California or the New York City, have already put in place regulations that require fast food chains and other restaurants to inform consumers about the calories in their products. But now that the new U.S. healthcare law is set to be applied, all restaurants with 20 or more locations are required to put calories on menus.
All that McDonald’s did was to put bright lights behind the calorie counts on its menus ahead of those guidelines. It’s not a big deal and it should have happened a long time ago. But much like other major fast food chains, McDonald’s kept mum about that information, since there was no national law that would bring along fines and negative advertising.
“We feel it’s important to do this for our customers” said the president of McDonald’s USA, Jan Fields. “Calories are just part of the story” Fields added. But weren’t calories part of the story during the 72 years since the fast food chain was founded?
Advocacy representatives believe McDonald’s full disclosure of calorie counts in its products is a “small step in the right direction”. Sara Deon of Corporate Accountability International says “McDonald’s is setting the tone that it’s a leader when the reality is that there’s an incredible amount of pressure being generated from” parents and health professionals. And it’s only a way of diverting focus from an urgent issue, that is the “aggressive marketing of junk to children”.