The move is met with much controversy, as the company has offered the kids-oriented meal — with its signature bonus toy or activity — since the late 1970s. Reports project that the company could lose nearly $360 million a year by taking the Happy Meal off of its menu.
The reason for the decision has been debated by business publications and online rumor mills alike, with the most popular idea being that the growing appetite of the country’s children no longer find the Happy Meal sufficient. Some believe the company wants children to want and purchase more. Regardless — and expectedly — there has been an outcry from parents across the U.S.
”I just don’t understand,” said Mary Allen Witherspoon, a 41-year-old mother from Washington, Pa. “Are they trying to encourage kids to eat more? Do they want my boys to order Big Macs and large f than a normal portion? I won’t be taking my kids there any time soon.”
On the contrary, McDonald’s has been showing more of an interest in instilling better eating habits for children. Just last year, the addition of the apple slices to the Happy Meal was announced, along with a lesser portion of French fries.
”I think the message is clear,” said marketing analyst Robby Dawson. “McDonald’s simply wants to become a more adult brand. I bet by 2015, you’ll see a lot of missing ball pits and kid-centric imagery in the restaurant. Everything will begin to look a little classier — a little more for Mom and Dad. They’ll probably start to roll out even more elderly-friendly products. When you think about it, it’s a pretty bold move.”