Commitment to Families

In partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, we’re raising the bar with more fruit, vegetables and dairy in our Happy Meals, as well as innovating in how we communicate more balanced choices to families.


Why it matters

In 2013, in partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, we made commitments around our menu in 20 major markets and changes to the Happy Meal to increase balanced menu options for families and kids. Parents have responded enthusiastically to our ingredient and menu innovations over the years and we’ve seen how our changes can make an impact. When soda was removed from the Happy Meal section of U.S. menu boards, we saw positive shifts in consumer behavior and the number of customers selecting milk, water or juice has since increased by 14 percentage points. We know we can continue making meaningful changes for the millions of families who visit McDonald’s restaurants.


On this page:

Our approach | Global Happy Meal goals


Our approach


Whether it be offering popular children’s books that celebrate the joy of reading or helping families by donating a percentage of the sale of Happy Meals to Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) in certain countries, we’re committed to leveraging our scale and global reach across our System to make a lasting impact.


Children sitting down together, one is blowing bubbles


Focusing on Happy Meals offering more balanced choices and recommended food groups that kids and parents love.

A boy reading a book


Helping inspire a lifelong love of reading for kids through our Happy Meal Readers Book Program.

A girl riding her bike in a play area


Leading the important role we have played for more than 40 years by supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), which keeps families with sick children near each other and the care and resources they need.


Our Global Happy Meal goals

These goals were developed with families in mind; we’re listening to and learning from them to continue making progress on our food journey and this represents areas where our System has the best opportunity to create positive and meaningful change. We aim to offer balanced meals that provide a variety of offerings from recommended food groups, using simpler ingredients so parents can feel good about our Happy Meal menu.


Happy Meal Readers

McDonald’s is using its Scale for Good to help inspire a passion for reading. Through the Happy Meal Readers Book Program, the Company and its Franchisees have collectively distributed more than 370 million books since 2001. Since 2013, more than 100 markets have offered books in Happy Meals, including the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia/New Zealand, Latin America and parts of Asia. Several countries also provide customers with the regular option to choose a book or toy with a Happy Meal. By making it fun, we can help inspire a lifelong love of reading for kids.


Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC)

When it comes to supporting families, the Company has played an important role for more than 40 years in keeping families together when their children are sick. McDonald’s is the Charity’s Founding Mission Partner. And today, RMHC keeps families near each other and the care they need through more than 364 Ronald McDonald Houses, 227 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms and 49 Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles in more than 64 countries and regions around the world. Last year alone, RMHC provided care and resources to more than 5.5 million children and families.

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Global Happy Meal goals


While not yet completed, our markets are on track to fulfill their 2020 commitments two years ahead of schedule and we’re excited to announce new, ambitious global goals through 2022 in partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. These goals continue our collaboration to focus on Happy Meals offering more balanced choices and recommended food groups that kids and parents love.


Global Happy Meal goals

  1. Offer balanced meals
    Ensure 50% or more of the Happy Meal Bundle Offerings presented on menus (restaurant menu boards, primary screens of owned ordering kiosks, and mobile ordering applications) in each market meet McDonald’s Global Happy Meal Nutrition Criteria of less than or equal to:
    • 600 calories
    • 10% of calories (or kilojoules) from saturated fat
    • 650 mg of sodium
    • 10% of calories (or kilojoules) from added sugar


  2. Simplify ingredients
    Consumers’ tastes and preferences continue to evolve and we’re proud to meet this demand and will continue to seek new ways to simplify ingredients where we can. We will remove artificial flavors and added colors from artificial sources in Happy Meals, and reduce artificial preservatives where feasible without sacrificing the safety, taste, quality or value of our food.
    Note: In 2016, McDonald’s U.S. removed artificial preservatives from Chicken McNuggets, which also don’t have artificial colors or flavors.


  3. Be transparent with Happy Meal nutrition information
    McDonald’s has made a continuous effort to meet consumers’ desires to have easy access to the nutrition information for the menu items we serve, and our goal is to ensure that nutrition information for Happy Meals is available and accessible through all owned websites and mobile apps used for ordering where they exist in markets and as technologies develop over time.


  4. Market responsibly
    McDonald’s has long been a proponent of responsible marketing to children. For example, through our partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, we are audited in our 20 major markets to ensure that we are compliant with the responsible marketing commitments that we made as part of that partnership. As of February 2018, our goal is to have all Happy Meal bundles advertised to children meet our new nutrition criteria, and continue to meet any existing local/regional advertising pledges that the local entity has joined with respect to marketing to children.


  5. Increase purchase of foods and beverages that contain recommended food groups in Happy Meals
    McDonald’s always has and always will make mealtime fun and we recognize that we have an opportunity to make a positive impact using our size and scale and sharing our innovations. We will continue to use innovative marketing, which may include things like packaging and promotions, to generate excitement for fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, lean protein and/or water to help increase purchases of these foods and beverages.


By the end of 2022, we aim to achieve these goals in all markets globally,1 with measurement and reporting of progress among 20 major markets representing nearly 85% of our global sales.


Meaningful changes

The McDonald’s System serves millions of Happy Meals annually. Approximately 29% of these meals already offered on our Happy Meal menu boards in our 20 major markets2 currently meet these nutrition criteria. With these new goals in place, the System will be making changes to our Happy Meal menus, which we estimate will result in the following impacts to the average Happy Meal:

  • Projection 1: TBC
  • Projection 2: TBC
  • Projection 3: TBC
  • Projection 4: TBC



1. It is important to note that our global system consists of both Company-owned and franchised restaurants. The franchised restaurants are operated by conventional Franchisees, developmental licensees (i.e., a Franchisee that operates most or all of the McDonald’s-branded restaurants in a specific market) or pursuant to other licensing arrangements, and make up the majority of McDonald’s-branded restaurants around the world. Our Franchisees make independent decisions for their own business organizations, subject to their obligations under the operative franchise or other license agreements and core standards required for the McDonald’s brand. McDonald’s does not prescribe all business requirements for our Franchisees, but rather we work in collaboration with them to raise awareness and provide tools and opportunities to assist them as part of the brand’s food journey. We also work with Franchisees to mutually set objectives and targets and to help monitor their related progress. As a result, while we will encourage Franchisees to participate in the important goals outlined in this document, we cannot guarantee their compliance. However, we can drive change in our Company-owned restaurants so much of this work will start with Company-owned restaurants, with a plan to demonstrate success and expand measurement, and that will ultimately help to support independent Franchisees that choose to join us on this journey.

2. 20 major markets include: U.S., Canada, Brazil, Argentina, U.K., France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Taiwan, Australia.