McDonald’s has announced the launch of a campaign to give away free fruit across Europe - a major step in delivering on the company’s global commitment to increase access to fruit and vegetables and to make these items a fun and appealing choice for children. All McDonald’s European markets already offer fruit menu items but this is the first time a pan-European campaign has been launched to give away these items for free across 19 countries.
Building on the success of a major initiative in France, the campaign kicked‐off on 7 March in the UK with “Free Fruit Fridays” and will be followed by the launch of “Fruchtiger Mittwoch” (Fruity Wednesday) in Germany on 2 April. The free fruit promotion is set to cover up to 84 per cent of all McDonald’s restaurants in Europe during the year. Children will be offered free fruit as part of their Happy Meal, typically once a month. i
“Parents tell us that it can be a challenge to get children to eat fruit and vegetables so we want to help to make fruit more accessible, affordable and appealing. One of the most powerful things we can do at McDonald’s is to make eating fruit and veg fun, for example, by using our brand and licensed characters on packaging. We also try to present fruit creatively – for example, kiwi on stick – which makes it easier and more exciting for kids to eat and hold. All our restaurants already offer fruit or vegetables and many have done this for over a decade so this campaign just takes our commitment one step further.”
In September 2013, McDonald’s announced a global commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative in partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, pledging to increase customers’ access to fruit and vegetables and a wider choice of drinks, to increase awareness of the availability of these menu items and to help families and children to make informed choices in keeping with balanced lifestyles.
The pan‐European campaign follows the success of the French campaign, “Mercredis à Croquer” (Crunchy Wednesdays), which has been running since 2010 and has seen free fruit offered with every Happy Meal sold on the first Wednesday of the month. In all, almost 10 million packs of fruit have been given awayii and between 2010 and 2013, total fruit offered and sold with Happy Meals in France increased by 58%iii. In France today, McDonald’s is the restaurant where children eat the most fruit. More than half of the fruit consumed by children between 3 – 8 years old in the French restaurant industry is eaten at McDonald’s. iv
Free fruit giveaways have also been previously trialled in McDonald’s Portugal, McDonald’s Italy and McDonald’s Malta. In Portugal for example, more than 650,000 portions of fruit have been given away since 2012.
Fruit consumption at McDonald’s has been steadily increasing. For example, in five major marketsv, 34% of all children’s fruit servings in informal restaurants are consumed at McDonald’s.
“Our experience in France shows that we can make an impact by encouraging balanced diets and hopefully creating lifelong habits of fruit consumption.
“We know that parents want us to help them out when they are spending quality time with their kids so this move follows hot on the heels of our launch of digital interactive books across Europe in 2013 which saw over 1.4 million books read and created to date. Both moves are examples of how we continue to evolve the McDonald’s experience, both inside and outside our restaurants.
“The campaign builds on our long heritage in Europe of helping families and children to make informed choices. We have already evolved our menu significantly, introducing items such as Wraps, salads, fruit bags, carrot sticks, mineral water, organic milk and fruit juices.”
“Increasing access to healthier foods and finding innovative ways to introduce new products will help inspire children and families to make healthier choices. We are excited to see the commitments McDonald’s made coming to life and look forward to our continued partnership to promote healthy behaviours across the world.”
The type of fruit given away as part of this campaign will vary by country and seasonality. For example, the Baltics are planning to give away free whole apples, while Russia is aiming to provide a mix of apple slices and grapes. The UK will offer free apple slices and grapes bags to start with, before a planned move to pineapple sticks over the summer.
For further information, please contact:
+44 (0) 207 800 4884/ +44 (0) 207 800 4828
McDonald’s is Europe’s leading foodservice retailer with more than 7,600 restaurants in 38 markets serving over 15 million customers a day. 73% of McDonald’s restaurants in Europe are owned and operated by independent local business men and women. Together with our franchisees, we employ more than 425,000 people in Europe. For more information, please visit our website at www.mcdpressoffice.eu.
About the European Fruit Campaign
• Participating countries are: Austria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, UK, Ukraine
• All other European markets will be continuing to offer fruit and vegetable options and will be reviewing how best to continue to increase awareness of these menu items.
McDonald’s will measure the number of fruit portions given away as part of the campaign and any resulting increase in fruit orders. The type of tracking used will vary across markets according to the type of giveaway. We will continue to evaluate the programme and share learnings across Europe.
(ii) Between the start of the campaign in 2010 and the end of 2013 (exact figure is 9.8 million), source: internal sales data from McDonald’s France
(iii) source: internal sales data from McDonald’s France
(iv) Source : CREST Panel, NPD Group, TTM December 2013
(v) Data from Crest analysis covering UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain. Data based on children aged 0-12, 2013.