Food Marketing > Healthier Kids' Meal Pledges


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In September 2013, McDonald's issued a pledge through the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to commit to the following actions:

  • Feature only water, milk, and juice as the beverage in Happy Meals on menu boards and in-store and external advertising directed to children. 
  • For Happy Meals, remove all soda logos and images of cups with soda from the Happy Meal section of menu boards (where they exist) and all in-store and external advertising directed to children. Soda will still be available as a beverage option.
  • Offer new fruit, vegetable, low/reduced-fat dairy or water options in the Happy Meal beginning in 2014. 

McDonald's pledge called for phasing out the listing of soda on the Happy Meal section of the menu board, beginning in 2014, with interim goals for market-level compliance in 2016 and 2018. The final goal is to fulfill all commitments in 20 major markets, which represent more than 85% of the company's global sales, by 2020. Although McDonald's goal was to fulfill all its pledges in 20 markets by 2020, a 2014 progress report by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation concluded that these commitments were fulfilled in the U.S. by July 2014.

In addition, in 2018, McDonald's announced an expanded commitment to improve kids' meals through five new Global Happy Meal Goals through 2022. 

Burger King

In 2015, the President of Burger King North America emailed a statement, published in USA Today, stating that:

  • Instead of soft drinks on menu boards, the BK menu for kids will offer fat-free milk, 100% apple juice, and low-fat chocolate milk.


In a statement emailed to Consumerist in January 2015, a Wendy's representative confirmed the following steps taken by the restaurant:

  • Remove carbonated soft drinks from the kids' meal listing on menu boards, both inside restaurants and at pick-up windows (as of fall 2014).
  • This pledge states, "Beverage options now listed for kids' meals are 1% white or chocolate milk, bottled water, and 100% juice."


In January 2014, Subway joined the Partnership for a Healthier America and issue a press release stating that it would:

  • Only offer items on its kids' meal menu that meet strong nutritional guidelines informed by federal standards for the national school lunch program, including offering apples as a side and low-fat or non-fat milk or water as a default beverage. 

Dairy Queen

In May 2015, the American Dairy Queen Corporation released a letter stating that the following changes would be effective September 1, 2015 when new menu boards arrive at franchise locations: 

  • Remove soft drinks from kids' meal menu boards at Dairy Queen locations across the U.S., and drinks such as milk and bottled water would solely be listed as menu options at DQ locations. 


In March 2013, Nation's Restaurant News published an article introducing the new KFC kids' meals and in March 2014, the National Restaurant Association provided comments to the Dietary Guidelines Committee citing the KFC kids' meal: 

  • KFC now offer the Lil' Bucket Kids' Meal that comes with green beans, GoGo squeeze applesauce, and a Capri Sun Roarin' Water.