The company says it will now provide calorie counts across the board in all of its 14,000 U.S. locations, making it the first nationwide fast food chain of its size to make such a move.
“We recognize customers want to know more about the nutrition content of the food and beverages they order,” said Jan Fields, President of McDonald’s USA, in a statement Wednesday.
The Obama Administration’s healthcare reform bill of 2010 mandated that all restaurants with over 20 locations post calorie information on their menus. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a proposed calorie labeling rule in April of last year, but the rule has yet to be finalized.
Panera Bread, a cafe/bakery with 1,500 locations across the country, became the first chain to voluntarily implement calorie labeling in 2010.
McDonald’s, along with other chain restaurants, is already required to post calorie information on menus at its franchises in New York City, Philadelphia and a handful of other cities where such labeling is mandatory.
While some studies have shown that posting calorie information has an effect on consumer choices, others have found that customers who go into a fast food restaurant with the intention of buying a certain item are not swayed by posted nutrition information.
Panera says the step has had an impact on its patrons’ decisions. The company reported a 20 percent decrease in average calorie size of customer orders shortly after posting calorie information for the first time in April of 2010, according to the Wall Street Journal.
As part of its new health kick, McDonald’s also announced the addition of new, healthier selections to its menu, including a grilled chicken Happy Meal, more seasonal fruits and vegetables and an egg white McMuffin, reported the New York Times.© Food Safety News