McDonald’s plans to begin posting calorie counts on all its menus next week — a move that will likely pressure other QSRs to follow suit. At the same time, the company introduced several menu additions aimed at making its offerings more healthful, the New York Times reported.
Heading soon for McDonald’s menus are an egg white McMuffin, a grilled chicken option for the Happy Meal and seasonal fruits and vegetables like blueberries and cucumbers, meant to appeal to customers interested in eating healthy.
McDonald’s began experimenting this summer with signs calling customer attention to “Favorites Under 400,” which are items with 400 calories or fewer. This fall, some 750,000 of its employees can also participate in an e-learning program about nutrition, calories and the company’s menu to prepare to answer customers’ questions.
McDonald’s also plans to introduce an app this year to provide customers with information about product calories and help them build a customized meal plan.
Under the health care bill upheld by the Supreme Court this summer, all restaurants with more than 20 locations will have to post calorie counts on their menus, although exact regulations and a timeline have not yet been specified.
But do the signs even have an impact on consumer behavior? A Stanford University study found a 6% reduction in the number of calories purchased by consumers buying food in Starbucks stores in New York City after the company began posting calorie counts in April 2008. But for customers who averaged more than 250 calories per transaction, calories declined by 26%, the New York Times reported.