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Apple Tribute

McDonald’s was honored today by Michigan State Sen. Geoff Hansen for making healthy menu options available for children in its Happy Meals – particularly apple slices.

In a formal proclamation, Hansen congratulated McDonald’s for “the sagacity to see the need for nutritious fruit packaged in a way to appeal to children, doing its part to curtail childhood obesity while at the same time contributing to Michigan’s strong agricultural economy.”

McDonald’s has sold over 2 billion packages of apples in Happy Meals since 2004, the company has said.  “For some perspective, two billion packages is equal to providing every child in America under the age of 12 with 40 packages of apple slices,” said Sen. Hansen (R-Hart).

The introduction of apple slices helped pave the way for the continuing evolution of McDonald’s menu and offer more wholesome options for its youngest customers. But the impact has been larger than that. As the first national restaurant chain to successfully offer pre-sliced apple packages on a national scale, suppliers responded by increasing capacity to make them – which helped make it easier for other retailers and schools to offer the convenient apple packages.

As a result, fruit consumption in school lunches has jumped by more than 60 percent when apple slices were part of the menu, said Sen. Hansen.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, consumption of fresh cut apples has jumped 355 percent from 2004 to 2015 to 4.6 million bushels, in part because of the leadership of McDonald’s, said Mark Seetin, Director of Regulatory and Industry Affairs for the U.S. Apple Association.

McDonald’s has purchased more than $164 million in agricultural products from Michigan, with one of the largest purchases being apples. It has bought more than 19 million pounds of sliced apples since 2004, Sen. Hansen said.

Peterson Farms in Shelby, Mich., which is one of McDonald’s six suppliers of fresh cut apples,  was honored by Sen. Hansen, too. Headed by fourth-generation owner Earl Peterson, Peterson Farms supplies most of the apples eaten at McDonald’s restaurants throughout Michigan.

“I congratulate you all for reaching this milestone,” Sen. Hansen said. “Thank you for providing this nutritious food and for contributing so much to Michigan’s agriculture economy.”

 And it has bought more than $164 million in agricultural products from Michigan, including from its supplier, Peterson Farms in Shelby, Mich.

The introduction of apple slices helped pave the way for McDonald’s continuing evolution to improve its kids’ meals and offer more wholesome options for its youngest customers. But the impact has been larger than that. As the first national restaurant chain to successfully offer pre-sliced apple packages on a national scale, suppliers responded by increasing capacity to make them – which helped make it easier for other retailers and schools to offer the convenient apple packages.
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