If the foodservice category follows the lead of McDonald’s Corp., then the apple industry is rejoicing at the fast-food giant’s July announcement that it would add apple slices to its children’s meals beginning this fall.
Media reports speculated the move was a result of increased pressure from federal regulators who have been pressuring quick-service restaurants to offer more nutritious fare than has been their tradition.
Some critics said the move didn’t go far enough to fight obesity in children.
The new apple slices will not be served with caramel dipping sauce, as has been an option in McDonald’s Happy Meals.
“McDonald’s will always try to do the right thing, and we know we can help make a difference in our communities,” Jan Fields, president of McDonald’s USA, Oak Brook, Ill., said in a news release.
“The commitments we’re announcing today will guide the future evolution of our menu and marketing.”
Whatever the motivation, the result will be more apple sales, said Jim Allen, president of the Fishers-based New York Apple Association.
“The biggest thing is McDonald’s with apples and Happy Meals,” he said in discussing inroads apples had made in the foodservice sector.
“I think that’s going to be a tremendous boon for apples across the country, and it’s a great win for the kids and the health of our youth. I think it’s going to spur and increase consumption across the board, not just in foodservice restaurants but across the retail front.”
“I don’t know specifics, but I think it’s going to be great for all the apple industry, as well as New York,” said John Teeple, owner of Teeple Farms in Wolcott, N.Y.
“I’m assuming a number of different varieties for slicers will be coming from the packing line. When you get a big chain like McDonald’s picking up on this, it’s fantastic for the apple industry.”
Everybody wins in a move like this, including McDonald’s, Teeple said.
“A lot of the fast-food places like the McDonald’s and the Burger Kings have an image problem, and they’re trying to change that image,” he said.
“If apples can help, we’ll be glad to supply them.”
Others in the Eastern apple industry said they were excited by the announcement.
“That’s really big,” said Doug Minard, owner of Clintondale, N.Y.-based W.G. Minard & Sons Inc.