CORRECTED: Bananas, blueberries and grapes could be joining Cuties clementines and apple slices on McDonald’s menus as the restaurant chain continues efforts to help parents feel better about Happy Meals.
Chiquita Brands International Inc. is supplying “junior” bananas for a current test in the Austin, Texas, market, said Terri Hickey, a media relations manager for McDonald’s U.S. The “juniors” are between 5.5 and 7 inches long and fit in children’s hands better than larger fruit.
If the bananas prove popular, they could be added to menus across the U.S. as a standard side item in Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals, Hickey said. A similar test with Cuties included 100 restaurants in the Austin area and ran for about 12 weeks.
Greg Watson, senior vice president of menu innovation for McDonald’s told USA Today that the fruit tests are part of a larger plan. “This is part of the journey we started four years ago to make Mom feel better about Happy Meals,” Watson told the newspaper. He said the feedback from the Cuties test was “overwhelmingly positive.”
McDonald’s is considering testing blueberries and grapes in the future, Watson said in USA Today. Grapes are already available at McDonald’s locations in Europe. In May 2012, the restaurant chain added blueberries from Naturipe as an oatmeal topping for a limited time.
Barney Evans, vice president of Cuties supplier Sun Pacific, Pasadena, Calif., said the company is very happy with the opportunity to have its clementines on the McDonald’s menu.
Cuties will be a side option for kids’ meals and will also be offered as a separate menu item. During the test they sold for 50 cents each, Hickey said. The Cuties join apple slices as the second fresh fruit option available for kids’ meals.
McDonald’s began adding apple slices to Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals in 2012. Hickey said the restaurant chain has served more than 1.1 billion bags of apple slices since early 2012.
Note on correction: The original version of this article incorrectly attributed a comment about testing other fruit. Greg Watson is the correct source. Also, the individual sale price for Cuties has not yet been announced.