From: Harlan Levy
To: David Lifferth,
Subject: McDonald's 2013 Year-End Announcements and Initiatives
Date: Tue Jan 28 15:36:26 MST 2014
The Honorable David Lifferth,
350 North State, Suite 350
Salt Lake City, UT

McDonald's has recently made some announcements and enhancements related to our food, menu choices, and sustainability initiatives that I'd like to share with you. We believe that working together- industry, government, non-governmental organizations, academia and the public - is the key to making positive change. As such, we recognize the importance of undertaking these multi-sector efforts on behalf of our customers, and communicating them as well for continued input and improvement. Below, please find some highlights of our most recent work.

Cornell University's Research on McDonald's Happy Meals
In 2013, McDonald's commissioned Cornell University's Dr. Brian Wansink to undertake original research to study the impact of our Happy Meal changes. The Cornell University Food and Brand Lab analyzed Happy Meal transactions before and after the Happy Meal evolution and found that changes - like automatically including apple slices and reducing the size of the French fries - resulted in an 18.8% average reduction of calories ordered by our Happy Meal customers, and also resulted in more customers selecting white or chocolate milk with their entrèe. The researchers stated that by automatically including apple slices in the Happy Meal, children may begin to view fruit as a standard side item for lunch or dinner. Dr. Wansink is a member of McDonald's Global Advisory Council (GAC), and the GAC has encouraged McDonald's to support this type of academic research. It will be published in Obesity in March and is currently available online ahead of print via Cornell's website:

Beef Sustainability Announcement
In early January 2014, McDonald's announced that it will begin purchasing verified sustainable beef in 2016. We joined forces with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Cargill, JBS, and others to draft guiding principles and best practices for sustainable beef - a breakthrough for the beef industry, and for McDonald's. This comes on the heels of recent McDonald's USA announcements to use the Marine Stewardship Council ecolabel for 100% of our MSC-certified whitefish, and to serve 100% Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM espresso. These actions are part of our global Sustainable Land Management Commitment, developed in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund. For more information, please visit

Clinton Global Initiative Announcement
On September 26, 2013, McDonald's, in partnership with the Clinton Foundation and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, made a commitment to increase customers' access to fruit and vegetables and help families and children make informed choices in keeping with healthy, balanced lifestyles. McDonald's also committed to provide customers a choice of a side salad, fruit or vegetable as a substitute for French fries in value meals. (Salad, fruit or vegetable option will vary per participating market.)

This global announcement includes McDonald's top 20 markets which represent 85+ percent of global sales. All pieces of this commitment will be implemented in 30-50 percent of the 20 major markets within three years and 100 percent of the 20 markets by 2020. We continue to work with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, and will retain an independent, reputable third party organization to verify progress on the commitment. More details can be found by visiting or

Happy Meal E-Books
In November 2013, as part of our Happy Meal program, McDonald's USA offered books in print providing more than 20 million books in our Happy Meals to families across the country. McDonald's Happy Meal Books inspire kids in a fun way to learn about nutrition, engage in active and imaginative play and develop a sense of community.

McDonald's collaborated with Reading is Fundamental (RIF), the largest children's literacy non-profit in the U.S., to help more children and their families discover the joy of reading. RIF distributed 100,000 Happy Meal Books to children who do not have easy access to books. In 2014, McDonald's will offer families a new free interactive digital book every month through the end of the year. McDonald's is already planning its next Happy Meal Book program, scheduled to be released in 2015. The Happy Meal Book program started in Europe; Latin America will be launching Q1 2014 and in Asia later this year. For more information about Happy Meal Books, visit

Thank you for your interest in our collaborative work, and we appreciate your input. We will keep you updated on our actions and latest initiatives as together we continue on our journey.


Harlan Levy
Government Affairs Director, West Division