McDonald’s Corp. has made much ado about its goal of doubling servings of fresh fruits and vegetables worldwide by the year 2020, but specific details on how the chain plans to make that happen are light.
“To achieve this goal, we’ll build on menu innovation successes such as the McDonald’s Premium McWrap, which contains vegetables, … as well as the inclusion of apple slices in every Happy Meal in the U.S.,” said Cindy Goody, senior director of nutrition and menu innovation.
The McWraps launched in the U.S. in April 2013 and the chain added sliced apples to U.S. Happy Meals in March 2012. In other parts of the world McDonald’s has been offering those items since at least 2004 when a version of the McWrap was introduced in the Czech Republic, according to Business Week magazine.
In 2013 the company — which has more than 34,000 restaurants worldwide — promised to implement healthier menu options in 30% to 50% of its markets within three years and in 100% by 2020. At that time, additional fresh fruit and vegetable items were already available in many other countries.
Carrot sticks were an option in 23 countries and in Europe fruit bags with grapes and sliced apples were already on the menu. In some Latin America countries the chain also offers fruits on a stick, including kiwifruit and watermelon wedges. McDonald’s menus in those countries also offer fresh pineapple spears and melon wedges.
It’s unknown if McDonald’s 2020 plan includes any of those items in the U.S. The goal of doubling fruit and vegetable servings is for the company’s “top nine” markets, which are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the U.S.
“Our menu team is constantly looking at viable options for the future,” a McDonald’s spokesman said.
The most recent corporate promise to “serve 100% more fruits and vegetables” in McDonald’s top nine markets by 2020 is part of the multinational’s Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability Framework that was unveiled April 30. The “Framework” and its goals are in the company’s 116-page 2012-13 report on its Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability, an annual report.
Other than listing steps taken in the past, the new report and sustainability document do not include specifics on how the goal to serve twice as many fresh fruits and vegetables will be met.
“We are committed to working toward a tomorrow where quality food and balanced choices are accessible and affordable to all. Where the food we serve is sustainably sourced from thriving farms,” McDonald’s chief executive officer Don Thompson said in his introduction to the report.
Other goals in the report are to get 100% of its fiber-based packaging from sources certified by an environmental group or verified as recycled fiber, up from roughly 14% now; increase recycling at its restaurants to 50%, from roughly 36%; double the amount of low-fat dairy products or whole grains it sells in its top nine markets; and develop goals next year for reducing salt or sodium, sugar, saturated fat or calories across its menu.
As defined in the report, McDonald’s top nine markets account for 70% of the company’s revenues. Those markets are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the U.S.