McDonald’s has just announced that it’s changing the menu of its well-known Happy Meal. The company is cutting the number of French fries by more than half and adding an apple. If you think it’s great that Ronald McDonald is responding to consumer desires for a healthier product, guess again. It’s because of politicians and health nazis.
Let me start by saying that I don’t think you should buy this junk food for your kids. I think the sugar and starch content are way too high for anybody. It’s just not very healthy food. Kids are better served by higher quality food. But it’s just my opinion. They’re your kids and it’s your decision.
And that’s the problem. Some people don’t believe it is your decision. They believe the power of the coercive state should be brought to bear on companies selling products — so that the real “market” pressure comes from politicians and busybodies, not from the people who plunk down their money for the products.
Notice what the Reuters story says prompted the change:
“…[McDonald’s] has been taking heat from parents, consumer groups and local lawmakers over the nutritional content and marketing of Happy Meals….”
Actual consumers put “pressure” on businesses by buying products other than the ones they don’t like. I’m sure some parents — probably pretty responsible ones, in this regard — don’t buy Happy Meals. But the real “pressure,” in this case, comes from the “consumer groups” and politicians.
What are these “consumer groups”? Well, they’re politically left-wing groups such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest who have decided that you should be coerced into living as they choose. Is that a “consumer group”? Ummmm, no. That’s a political pressure group that wants to force companies to sell products they don’t necessarily want to sell to people who don’t necessarily want to buy them. (More to the point, they don’t want the companies to be able to sell the products that consumers do want to buy.)
And what about politicians? What role should they play in what your kids eat? As far as I can tell, absolutely none. But that doesn’t stop politicians in cities such as San Francisco from passing laws requiring that a vegetable be added to kids’ meals. Should the same politicians also dictate what your kids get to wear? Not wearing the trendy threads might hurt their self-esteem. It shouldn’t be up to you to decide that, should it?
You’ll note in the Reuters story that McDonald’s has committed to reducing salt content by 15 percent by 2015. There’s only one problem. Health nazis have been trying to force us to slash salt intake since at least the ’70s — in spite of there being absolutely zero evidence that it’s a problem. Scientific American recently had the guts to say what more non-mainstream people have been saying for awhile — that the health risks of salt were just plain made up. (Print that article and hand it to people in the future who cluck-cluck at you for salting your bland food.)
Honestly, I don’t think you ought to buy Happy Meals for your kids. The white bread of the bun is loaded with sugar and junk that’s bad for them. I’m not so sure about the quality of the meat. And the fries are probably way too much starch (which also turns to sugar). But I might be wrong. Those things might be acceptable. Or maybe you think they’re fine in moderation. I don’t know. It’s your business. It’s not mine. It’s not the business of the health nazis. And it’s not the business of politicians.
In the meantime, how much do you want to bet that the vast majority of the apples that are handed out in the new Happy Meals go straight to the trash? Just because they’re in the box, that doesn’t mean the kids are going to eat ’em.