McDonalds Charge Happy Meal – McDonald’s will begin to charge an extra 10 cents for Happy Meal toys to support the Ronald McDonald House charity.
A new city law aimed at making fast food for kids follow nutritional guidelines won’t be making the food healthier, just more expensive – if you want a toy. Beginning Thursday, it will cost an extra dime in San Francisco to get a toy, a move one county supervisor called a marketing ploy prompted by the new law.
San Francisco was the first major U.S. city to prohibit fast-food restaurants from including toy giveaways with children’s food that don’t meet nutritional guidelines for sodium, calories and fat.
Eric Mar, the San Francisco supervisor who sponsored the ordinance, called the 10-cent charge a “marketing ploy,” but said he doesn’t plan to make any changes in the ordinance to address the tactic.
The goal of the law was not to micromanage fast-food chains but to raise awareness about the nutritional content of the food, he said, pointing to McDonalds’ switch to apples and smaller portions of french fries in Happy Meals as an example of the success of the law.
“We feel that our efforts to create healthier options forced the industry to acknowledge their role in childhood obesity,” he said about the law that also goes into effect Thursday.
Scott Rodrick, who owns 10 of the 19 franchises in the city, said the 10-cent charge was intended to adhere to the letter of the law while giving consumers what they want.
All those dimes will go to help build a new Ronald McDonald House to accommodate families of sick children at the new University of California, San Francisco hospital now under construction.
“Our customers expect a company like McDonalds to comply with that law and every other law, but they also expect us to deliver an experience they’ve grown accustomed to,” Rodrick said.
The law, which followed similar legislation in nearby Santa Clara County, requires fruits and vegetables to be served with each portion that comes with a toy. Supporters of the law say the toy giveaways made children clamor for the Happy Meals and contributed to high childhood obesity rates. Opponents call it government regulation run amok and an intrusion into people’s private choices.