McDonald’s Corporation unveiled plans to add easy-to-read nutrition information on all product wrappers by March 2006.
Icon and bar chart graphics on McDonald’s food product packaging will provide nutritional guidelines for calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates and sodium based on the government’s daily recommended allowances, according to an article from the Poynter Institute online.
McDonald’s has recently added healthier selections to its menu in an effort to target health-conscious customers. Adding the nutrition facts to product labels is an attempt to further this effort while meeting the needs of consumers as well as public interest groups, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Web site.
In the past, McDonald’s has provided customers with nutritional information in pamphlets and on its website, but Dr. Kathy Kapica, the director of global nutrition for McDonald’s, said she thinks the new format will complement the other materials.
The effort is mostly in response to public interest groups that have advocated nutrition information being displayed directly on menu boards, according to Dr. Stacey Snelling, associate professor of health and fitness at AU. Educating Americans is the first step in leading them towards making health-conscious decisions, Snelling said.
“Although some argue that educating people is not enough to change behavior, it is a step in the right direction,” she said.
Snelling described Americans as members of three categories. Twenty percent of Americans are making healthy decisions, another 20 percent are making the wrong decisions and cannot be helped while the remaining 60 percent in the middle can be reached and should be targeted.
Gorden McGregor, a junior in the School of Public Affairs, said the addition of nutritional information on McDonald’s food wrappers will not affect his decision to eat there because of the convenience and lack of other local options.
“I only eat McDonald’s because no Wendy’s are around,” he said.
In an attempt to avoid the “freshman 15,” Sarah Sobecki, a freshman in the School of Communication, said she has avoided dining at the on-campus McDonald’s, but expressed admiration at the company’s attempt to make strides toward consumer awareness of nutrition.
“If you go to McDonald’s, you already know it’s unhealthy,” Sobecki said.