At McDonald’s, Brazil has a clear and concise message: please stop luring our kids with gold ribbons and shiny toys, and hit the fatty foods after the arrival.
According to Reuters, the fast-food company was fined $ 1.6 million for allegedly using ads for children in Brazil. According to Procon, the Brazilian consumer agency that imposed the fine, McDonald’s has always targeted marketing to children who are not yet mature enough to make rational decisions.
In an email to the Huffington Post, Becca Hary, McDonald’s head of global media, said the fast-food chain plans to appeal the verdict.
Similar cases have been less successful in the United States. Last year, a judge in San Francisco filed a lawsuit against the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition advocacy group alleging that McDonald’s had used toys to lure children to the restaurant.
What was the mistake?
Despite the alleged failure of the case, Dr. Margo Wootan, the group’s director of food policy, told The Huffington Post that McDonald’s “had no accidents” during the Happy Meal changes, including the reduction in potato size when the case was closed.
According to Wootan, the average food in the United States today is approximately 450 calories and 16 grams of fat, less than 590 calories and 20 grams it had before. And as of 2011, Happy Meals in Latin America will have less than 600 calories and will be served with fresh fruit, according to a McDonald’s press release.
The food market helps the children to shape their food habits in a proper way. Food products like hamburgers and fries are extremely popular among children in the USA.
Happy Meal is one of McDonald’s most popular products, accounting for up to 10% of sales, according to NPR. However, critics say McDonald’s meals have contributed to a global obesity epidemic among young people. The number of overweight and obese children worldwide increased to 43 million in 2010.
McDonald’s has taken steps to offer healthier menu options, such as salads and smoothies, which are considered healthier than its famous burgers and fries.