Starting in December at participating restaurants nationwide, kid-sized Sun Pacific Cuties will join McDonald’s lineup of Happy Meal and Mighty Kids Meal side choices that currently includes apple slices and Go-GURT low fat Strawberry Yogurt. Cuties, grown in California, will be available during their peak season through March 2015.
The addition of Cuties supports McDonald’s ongoing dedication to children’s nutrition and well-being. Fresh Cuties offer an excellent source of vitamin C and provide about one-quarter cup of fruit. They can also be purchased a la carte.
“We know our customers and parents are looking for ways to enjoy more great-tasting and fun sides in our Happy Meals, and Cuties are the perfect fit,” said Greg Watson, senior vice president of menu innovation, McDonald’s. “As part of our commitment to help families make more nutritious choices, we’ll continue to explore more fruit and low-fat dairy sides for our youngest customers.”
Before introducing them to restaurants nationwide, McDonald’s tested Cuties in approximately 70 restaurants around Austin, Texas. As part of McDonald’s larger menu strategy to continue offering fresh fruit options, the company is currently testing smaller-sized “junior” bananas, which may be added as a future fresh offering as soon as next year pending test results.
“Our partnership with McDonald’s allows us to share our sweet, easy-to-peel Cuties with even more people across the nation,” said Victoria Nuevo-Celeste, vice president of marketing at Sun Pacific. “We’re eager to increase access to wholesome foods kids love and make history with McDonald’s by providing whole fresh fruit.”
The introduction of Cuties supports McDonald’s partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an organization founded by the American Heart Association and Clinton Foundation, to increase access to fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy and to help families make informed choices.
“Increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables is critical to ensuring young people have the chance to live long, healthy lives,” said Victoria Brown, vice president of strategic alliances, for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 60 percent of children do not eat enough fruit to meet daily recommendations. We are excited to see McDonald’s find innovative ways to increase customers’ access to fruit and vegetables — as they continue to make progress in our work together to help families and children make healthier choices.”
McDonald’s has also made significant progress on its nutrition journey since introducing its “Commitments to Offer Improved Nutrition Choices” in 2011.
In March 2012, McDonald’s started automatically including apple slices in every kids’ meal. Since then, more than 1.2 billion bags of apple slices have been served.
In July 2014 McDonald’s introduced Go-GURT low fat Strawberry Yogurt nationwide as a side with 50 calories and with 25 percent less sugar than the leading kids’ yogurt.
Since its introduction, McDonald’s has served more than 50 million Go-GURT low-fat yogurt tubes in kids’ meals.