McDonald’s under fire for toys in Happy Meals

McDonald’s is facing legal action in the US after accusations that it entices children to eat its fast food by offering toys with its Happy Meals.

/v/n/d/McDonaldsHappyMeal.jpg

Monet Parham, a mother in California, filled the lawsuit against the fast food chain last week saying that McDonald’s is making it harder to encourage children to eat healthily by offering toys with its children’s meals.

“I object to the fact that McDonald’s is getting into my kids’ heads without my permission and actually changing what my kids want to eat,” she says.

Her case is being backed by the US Centre for Science in the Public Interest and follows a similar lawsuit in Wisconsin.

In a statement McDonald’s says: “We are proud of our Happy Meals and intend to vigorously defend our brand, our reputation and our food. We stand on our 30 year track record of providing a fun experience for kids and families at McDonald’s.”

McDonald’s claims that parents “consistently tell us they approve of our Happy Meals” and understand that they can fit into a balanced diet for children.

McDonald’s chief executive Jim Skinner recently told the Financial Times that the “food police” were trying to “dictate behaviour through legislation”.

Though this is a US only case, McDonald’s UK bosses and anti-obesity campaigners such as the British Heart Foundation, will be awaiting the outcome with interest.

Food manufacturers in the UK have increasingly been the focus of healthy eating campaigners who have accused them of marketing unhealthy foods to children.

Cereal manufacturer Kellogg’s has previously come under fire for including toys in its sugary cereal products and stopped including the toy giveaways in 2007, in favour of promotions based around family activities.

Kellogg’s also changed its marketing strategy so that it does not target advertising at children under six.

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here