LONDON--(Marketwire - Jul 26, 2012) - (Olympic Park) - In its largest Olympics activation ever, McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) today announced significant milestones in the important areas of children's well-being, menu evolution and nutrition information. McDonald's President and CEO Don Thompson was joined by McDonald's U.K. CEO Jill McDonald; McDonald's Chief Brand Officer Kevin Newell; and, McDonald's Executive Chef Dan Coudreaut to unveil business actions and progress that speak to McDonald's commitment to its customers' changing lifestyles and needs.
The four McDonald's Olympic restaurants will serve the most diverse menu ever, representing evolving choice with a variety of tastes and nutritional values.
For the first time at the Olympic Games, McDonald's is offering Happy Meals, which include the options of a fruit or vegetable and low-fat dairy. This reflects the global popularity of McDonald's evolving Happy Meal, as more than 95 percent of restaurants globally offer balanced Happy Meal choices such as kiwi on a stick, carrot flowers, corn cups, apple slices, and low-fat milk.
Thompson said that customer purchases of fruits and vegetables in Happy Meals have more than quadrupled in markets that make up the majority of McDonald's business since the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games.
"We're using the scope of our global reach to deliver positive messages in a way that is fun and meaningful, and we're confident we can play an appropriate role in helping address the important subject of children's well-being," said Thompson. "McDonald's has the unique ability to encourage kids to get into the routine of enjoying foods like fruits and vegetables in a way that's fun for them and convenient for parents."
In an ongoing effort to help make it easier for customers to make informed choices, Newell introduced a new nutrition QR code on packaging that is making its debut at the McDonald's Olympic venue restaurants. It will roll out in the majority of McDonald's restaurants by the end of 2013.
"Customers recognize McDonald's as a responsible, trusted brand that stays current with their lifestyles," said Newell. "This QR code puts the power in their hands to instantly use their mobile phone to get the nutrition facts about our quality food."
McDonald's Aligns with LOCOG's Food and Sustainability Vision
McDonald's also shared details surrounding the design and environmentally responsible elements of its Olympic restaurants. McDonald's will recycle and reuse all of the furniture and equipment from its Olympic sites, and nearly all of the building materials will be used for future and existing restaurants.
"We have been inspired by LOCOG's food and sustainability visions, and found opportunities to contribute more widely to the success of the Games, such as our role as presenting partner of the London 2012 Games Makers volunteer programme," said Jill McDonald. "We have helped LOCOG to attract, recruit, and train the 70,000 Games Makers who will be a crucial part of making the Games a success."
McDonald's Promoting Active Play around the World
Newell, joined by Olympic medalists, including swimmers Dara Torres and Fernando "Xuxa" Scherer; gymnast, Shawn Johnson; and, soccer player, Julie Foudy, highlighted McDonald's Champions of Play program which inspires physical activity through fun play and engagement with kids around the world. Dr. Paul Gately, a renowned Carnegie professor of exercise and obesity at Leeds Metropolitan University in the U.K., played a pivotal role in the scientific design of the Olympic Games Challenge featured on the website, Championsofplay.com
"Research shows that regular, active playtime can positively impact the complex issues kids face today, including obesity, depression, low self-esteem, anxiety and bullying," said Dr. Gately. "I respect McDonald's for the depth of resources provided to promote active play as part of its Olympic sponsorship and significant reach."
The website can be accessed in 41 languages and is promoted globally on tens of millions of Happy Meal boxes and "playbooks." It features real-life Olympians starring in imaginative challenges, offers play ideas, and encourages children to track their personal active play achievements.
The Olympians congratulated two representatives of the nearly 200 McDonald's Champions of Play kids from 34 countries who were awarded a trip to the London 2012 Olympic Games through local market promotions. For the first time, the McDonald's Champions of Play kids will experience an Olympic Moment at sporting venues, such as crossing the finish line on a track and following the footsteps of an Olympic Gold medalist.
McDonald's Chefs Partner with Kids to Inspire Balanced Eating and Menu Innovation; Host Chef Demos
The Champions of Food challenge invited kids and parents to submit their inspiring recipe for the company's commitment to global fruit and vegetable menu innovation. These competitions culminated in five finalist teams from Japan, Germany, Brazil and the U.S. participating in a cook-off at the Olympics. The winners were announced today -- 12-year-old Sarah Ralston and her mom, Theresa Ralston from New Albany, Ohio, USA. Sarah earned a role in the Champions of Food Challenge through McDonald's USA's Happy Meal Chefs program. She will have the opportunity to collaborate with McDonald's Chef Dan Coudreaut on new nutrition-minded Happy Meal choices.
The London Games will mark the first time a McDonald's Olympic Restaurant will set stage for a series of Chef Demonstrations. Led by Chef Dan, culinary experts will showcase their recipe creativity using quality ingredients and team up with Olympic athletes, kids and parents to cook great-tasting, easy and convenient recipes that families can enjoy at home.
"As a food company passionate about innovative tastes and balanced eating, we are doing more to cultivate kids' and parents' understanding of food preparation and quality ingredients," says Chef Dan.
McDonalds.com/London2012 -- McDonald's People Share Unique Stories from the Olympics
McDonald's new multi-media website, www.McDonalds.com/London2012 will feature videos of the chef demonstrations and also offer a unique glimpse of the Olympics through the eyes of six Olympic Champion Crew members. They represent the 2,000 restaurant employees from 42 countries that make up the largest McDonald's Olympic Champion Crew ever to serve athletes, officials, media and spectators. A series of YouTube videos will showcase their adventures in the Olympic host city of London for employees and customers interested in their dream job experience.
About McDonald's and the Olympic Games
McDonald's commitment to the Olympic Movement began in 1968, when the company airlifted hamburgers to U.S. athletes in Grenoble, France, after they reported being homesick for McDonald's food. Since then, McDonald's has served its menu of choice and variety to millions of athletes, their coaches, families and fans. London 2012 marks the ninth consecutive Games that McDonald's will feed the athletes as the Official Restaurant of the Olympic Games.
McDonald's is the world's leading global foodservice retailer with more than 33,500 locations serving approximately 69 million customers in 119 countries each day. More than 80 percent of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local men and women. To learn more about the company, please visit aboutmcdonalds.com/mcd/newsroom.html and follow us on Twitter: @McDonaldsCorp