When healthy meal options first appeared in McDonald’s TV ads some years back, it really caught my attention. I thought at the time that there was hope after all for kicking this obesity epidemic that’s gripping the whole Western world.
After all, when a company like McDonald’s starts putting money behind something new, you can guarantee there’s something in it. They’re not the kind of people to act on hunches or wild assumptions. McDonald’s know their market and they know their business. And if they were going to the trouble of starting a new menu line and promoting it the way they were, you could bet your life it was because that’s what the people wanted.
It was almost unbelievable to me at the time that people were actually waking up and starting to demand healthier choices. Finally, I thought, a sign that the future of our health might actually be brighter than we thought! Amazing! The whole idea represented quite a historic moment for me.
Now, I’m sure that McDonalds’ investment in their healthy meal options paid dividends for them, but fast forward to the present and it’s pretty clear that things have changed. And unfortunately, not for the better.
It occurred to me just the other day that McDonald’s doesn’t seem to promote it’s healthy meal options at all on their TV ads anymore (at least, not here in Australia). So I did some research, and my suspicions were confirmed. A recent study conducted in Queensland, Australia revealed that less than 3% of McDonald’s customers order a healthy choice these days.
It also found that the customers who ordered healthy meals were on average 14 years older than those ordering full-fat meals, and 80% were female.
I guess what all this points to is the fact that the younger generation is once again (or perhaps, still) focused squarely on unhealthy junk for fast food. So the future of our health isn’t, in fact, as bright as I dared to hope a few years ago.
As sad as it seems, it appears as though healthy fast food may well have been nothing more than a passing fad. (How about that for a change – a good fad!) It’s just not trendy anymore.
For whatever good it does, it’s nice to know that McDonald’s is still happy with it’s healthy options (although no doubt not happy enough to spend money advertising them), and at least intends to continue expanding the line.
Thanks for the thought McDonald’s, but it seems that, for now at least, common sense is still losing the fight and people are still happy to continue killing themselves.