McDonald’s Corp. launched Monday whole, fresh mandarin oranges as a seasonal Happy Meal side option at participating restaurants across the U.S.
The Oak Brook, Ill.-based quick-service chain began testing kid-sized Cuties California clementines, a type of mandarin orange, in about 70 units in Texas earlier this year.
Cuties will be available as an alternative to apple slices and Go-Gurt Strawberry Yogurt through March, when the fruit’s peak season ends. The clementines will be offered both as a kids’ meal option and à la carte.
“We know our customers and parents are looking for ways to enjoy more great-tasting and fun sides in our Happy Meals, and Cuties are the perfect fit,” Greg Watson, McDonald’s senior vice president of menu innovation, said in a statement. “As part of our commitment to help families make more nutritious choices, we’ll continue to explore more fruit and low-fat dairy sides for our youngest customers.”
The chain is also testing junior bananas, which could be offered as early as next year, the operator said.
The addition of clementines is the latest effort in McDonald’s ongoing commitment to children’s nutrition and wellbeing, the company said. One clementine is an excellent source of vitamin C, and counts for about a quarter cup serving of fruit.
Since the addition of apple slices to Happy Meals in 2012, McDonald’s has served more than 1.2 billion bags of apples, the company said. More than 50 million Go-Gurt tubes have been served since the yogurt was added to the kids’ meal options in July.
The menu moves also support McDonald’s partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an organization founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation to increase access to fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products, and to help families make more informed food choices.
The Alliance estimates that 60 percent of children do not meet the daily recommended requirement for fruit consumption, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
McDonald’s Corp. operates and franchises about 14,000 restaurants in the U.S. and more than 35,000 restaurants worldwide.
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