Posted: March 01, 2018
By Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Remember when you were a kid and you’d get the latest Disney movie memorabilia in your Happy Meal?
The memory will now be back for the latest generation of Disney fans.
This week, McDonald’s and the Walt Disney Company announced that they’re partnering once again to bring the magic back to the Happy Meal.
The deal will put toys and promotions from Walt Disney animated and live action movies, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilms back in the meals, according to a McDonald’s press release.
It will start with “Incredibles 2” which will be released on June 15, and continue with “Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It-Ralph 2” which will hit theaters in November.
In 2006, Disney had started linking the brand and characters with “more nutritionally balanced foods” and meals that promoted fruits, vegetables and whole grains while at the same time limiting calories, saturated fats, sugar and sodium levels, according to McDonald’s company officials.
Recently, McDonald’s announced adjustments in its products and now meets the guidelines including removal of artificial preservatives from Chicken McNuggets and making sure it’s serving chicken not treated with antibiotics.
By June, all Happy Meals offered on the menus will meet Disney’s nutritional guidelines, McDonald’s company officials said.
Rogelio V. Solis/AP
Rogelio V. Solis/AP
McDonald’s is trying to make kids healthier by removing staples from their iconic Happy Meals.
The fast food chain announced Thursday that it will be removing cheeseburgers and chocolate milk as listed menu options, USAToday reported. It is also cutting the size of fries in the larger 6-piece chicken-nugget Mighty Kids Meal, Reuters reported.
Not everything is being taken away. Bottled water is being added as a Happy Meal drink option.
All is not lost for kids who will only eat cheeseburgers at the restaurant. They can still order the now-unlisted options by request.
The move to make the meals healthier comes as the company is trying to make a Happy Meal come in at 600 calories or less by 2022, NPR reported.
McDonald's is hoping that by removing the choices from the official menu, customers will change their ordering and dining behavior. That is what happened when the company took soda off the official menu option for Happy Meals. Some customers ordered milk, water or juice with their meals, Reuters reported.
The company is also looking at changing the options for the coveted toys that come with the meals. Right now 20 markets offer books as a year-round replacement for the toy. By the end of 2019, it will expand the program to 100 markets, Reuters reported.
McDonald’s Shamrock Shake is back at some locations this week.
This year, there is no other flavor. In 2017, the restaurant had four Shamrock Shake flavors outside of the mint one: frappe, chocolate, hot chocolate and mocha. Instead, McDonald’s is offering a Shamrock Shake Finder app on iOS and Android so customers can locate the popular dessert.
“Fans simply need to download the app and from there, locate participating restaurants locations, swap Shamrock Shake-themed stickers and raise a shake with friends to toast St. Patrick’s Day,” McDonald’s said of the app in a Feb. 12 news release. “In addition to helping fans find the nearest Shamrock Shake, the app also features a brand new camera mode, featuring an augmented reality (AR) experience for iPhone X.”
The Shamrock Shake was introduced in 1970 and is typically only available for a limited amount of time, disappearing around St. Patrick's Day.
“Last October, we truly meant well when we brought back a super-limited batch of Szechuan Sauce, but it quickly became apparent we did not make enough to meet the expectations of our fans,” McDonald’s said in a Thursday news release. “We did not anticipate the overnight crowds, the cross-state travel and the amazing curiosity, passion and energy fans showed.”
“Our super-limited batch, though well-intentioned, clearly wasn’t near enough to meet that demand. We disappointed fans and we are sorry. To fully make amends, we felt it was important to not only bring back much more sauce this time, but to also admit our mistakes, answer questions and give fans access to the story behind the story.”
Last year, McDonald’s announced a “one-time only, limited-edition” run of the sauce, which was first released in 1998 as a promotional tie-in with the release of Disney’s animated movie “Mulan.” Twenty years later, the sauce has a fan following, which was referenced in an episode of “Rick and Morty.” The limited batch was at a few McDonald’s locations Oct. 7.
When the day came, however, fans were left rejected. In some restaurants, customers only got one packet of sauce and in others, no sauce was available despite posters promising otherwise. Some customers were so upset that police had to be called to locations.
McDonald’s officials say this time will be different.
“We have hundreds of packets (of the sauce) per restaurant to satisfy that sauce craving, so we encourage customers to get ‘em while we’ve got ‘em, whether they come into the restaurant, use Mobile Order & Pay, or order through McDelivery on Uber Eats where it’s available,” Debbie Wright, a franchise owner for Dayton, Ohio, McDonald’s, said in a release.
“We’ve worked every day since October to bring back much, much, more of the sauce our fans have been craving,” the company said. “And we’re excited to announce that starting Monday, Feb. 26, 20 million packets of Szechuan Sauce will be available across all U.S. McDonald’s restaurants with a qualifying purchase, while supplies last (which this time around, we hope is a while).”
The sauce will be available starting at lunchtime on Monday. To obtain it, a customer must buy an item on the menu.
More information on the return of the sauce can be found at McDonald’s We Want The Sauce website.
Can eating McDonald’s French fries cure baldness? It seems far-fetched, but Japanese scientists said a chemical used to prepare the fast-food giant’s fries may restore hair for those experiencing hair loss, Newsweek reported.
A stem cell research team from Yokohama National University used dimethylpolysiloxane, the silicone added to McDonald’s fries, to regrow hair on mice, Newsweek reported. The scientists said that preliminary tests showed that the chemical was likely to be successful on humans, too.
The study was released in the Biomaterials journal on Feb. 1. Scientists were able to produce “hair follicle germs” (HFG) in mass quantities. The use of dimethylpolysiloxane, which is used by McDonald’s to stop cooking oil from frothing, was crucial to the advancement, scientists said.
“The key for the mass production of HFGs was a choice of substrate materials for the culture vessel,” Junji Fukuda of Yokohama National University said in the study. “We used oxygen-permeable dimethylpolysiloxane (PDMS) at the bottom of (the) culture vessel, and it worked very well.”
The scientists transplanted HFG chips onto the bodies of mice, and within days, Fukuda said, the animals were growing new black hair in the transplanted area, Newsweek reported.
"This simple method is very robust and promising,” Fukuda said in the study. “We hope this technique will improve human hair regenerative therapy to treat hair loss such as androgenic alopecia (male pattern baldness). In fact, we have preliminary data that suggests human HFG formation using human keratinocytes and dermal papilla cells."
McDonald’s officials have not commented on the study, Newsweek reported.
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