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Creating the changes
In order to create the changes, it was first necessary to identify exactly what those changes should be. In 2002, Guy Russo, who was then McDonald's CEO, started attending obesity summits and participating in obesity forums. He met with key organisations, including the Obesity Taskforce. In the following year, McDonald's Australia formed a relationship with The Food Group Australia, a group of accredited dieticians, who provide McDonald's Australia with ongoing advice on nutrition.
Once expert advice was obtained, it was then a matter of translating these lessons and the research findings into concrete menu changes. McDonald's Australia took a two-fold approach - improving existing products, and creating new ones. Existing products were improved by methods that include:
- Switching to a canola and sunfl ower oil blend, which is low in saturated fat and trans fatty acids
- Reducing the amount of sugar in buns to five per cent, which is similar to the amount of sugar found in bread rolls in the supermarket
- Reducing the amount of salt
- Creating smaller serve sizes for muffins.
New products include:
- The Salad Plus range, with items containing less than 10 grams of fat
- The Deli Choices range, again with items containing less than 10 grams of fat
- The option of multi-grain rolls in the Deli Choice range
- The Pasta Zoo Happy Meal, which contains pasta shapes with no artificial colours or flavours, 'zoo goo' or a tomato dipping sauce, and a serve of fat-reduced milk with a flavouring straw
New Happy Meal Choices, which include fruit bags, apple juice and water. McDonald's Australia was the first quick service restaurant chain to earn the Heart Foundation tick for some of its meals. This makes it easier for customers to select the healthier meal options. Making healthier choices has also been made easier by extensive nutritional labelling, both in-store and on the company website. New packaging includes percentage daily intake information, so customers can see how their food choices relate to their overall daily requirements.
Despite the changes, the new menu options are still in keeping with McDonald's Australia's brand. Importantly, the packaging, presentation and service are all recognisably McDonald's, a brand that already enjoys widespread recognition and success.