McDonald’s does turnabout, embraces calorie labelling

Reuters / A Big Mac and large fries? They don’t take a big bite out of your wallet, but they’ll cost you 1,050 calories.

Beginning this month, McDonald’s will start listing calorie information on menus in some 14,000 U.S. restaurants and drive-throughs. Rules are coming that would force such disclosures, but McDonald’s move will likely prompt competitors to follow quickly.

McDonald’s initially opposed calorie labelling, complaining rules from one jurisdiction to another were inconsistent.

But it now embraces labelling, saying it will help customers understand their food choices — and is also a business opportunity that will allow the company to highlight its more healthy menu options.

“It’s a new reason to visit more often,” said a company spokeswoman.

Spurred by parents and health activists, McDonald’s has taken steps to make menu items healthier. For example, it tweaked its popular Happy Meals for children — reducing the french fries portion by more than half and adding apples to every order.

This past summer, it rolled out a “Favorites Under 400” menu that highlights products in that calorie range. It also plans to add more fresh fruits and vegetables, and decrease calories, saturated fat and added sugars across its U.S. menu by 2020.

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