Drive-thru fruiting - The Packer

Drive-thru fruiting

08/22/2014 10:27:00 AM
The Packer Editorial Board

Happy Meals are going bananas — the latest fruit item to join burger giant McDonald’s increasingly varied portfolio of healthful menu options.

The trend-setting fast feeder is market-testing bananas, blueberries and grapes, which could all join Cuties clementines and apple slices on McDonald’s menus.

According to a 2013 National Restaurant Association trend report, more healthful kids’ meals items and lower-calorie foods ranked in the top 10 of trends for quick-service restaurants.

Apple Dippers apple slices became a french fry alternative in McDonald’s Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals in 2012. If the banana test-marketing gains traction, the fruit may be added to menus across the U.S. as a standard side item in meals aimed at children.

McDonald’s banana test run follows a similar test with Cuties clementines — and similar tests involving grapes and blueberries — the latter of which the restaurant chain offered as an oatmeal topping on its breakfast menu for a limited time a couple of years ago.

McDonald’s feels confident enough in Cuties’ appeal to make them available as a side option for kids’ meals and also as a separate menu item.

McDonald’s recognition of changing tastes and consumer expectations of healthful meal options is good news for consumers and produce suppliers alike.

The chain once synonymous with burgers and fries isn’t alone in embracing this change.

Subway has long made fresh vegetable sandwich toppings a selling point, while earlier this year Wendy’s employed model Molly Sims to promote its spring salad collection featuring leafy greens.

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