Celebrating with a socially distant high school graduation ceremony

August 20, 2020

Dad and daughter enjoying Happy Meal

Some of them might surprise you… in a really good way.

As we celebrate 40 years of Happy Meal, we are looking at all the ways this beloved icon has provided feel-good moments for families around the globe. Read on to learn more about how this little red box has been bringing smiles to customers since 1979.

1. We’re offering balanced, wholesome options in our Happy Meals. 

In the U.S., we offer apple slices or Yoplait® Go-GURT® Low Fat Strawberry Yogurt in every Happy Meal and milk, juice drink or bottled water as beverage options. You also won’t be seeing soda as a Happy Meal drink option on our menu board these days. We're committed to offering balanced options to our youngest guests. 

2. We’re helping kids foster a love of reading with our Happy Meal Readers. 

By the end of 2019, McDonald’s will have put 540 Million Happy Meal Readers into the hands of children and their families. That’s pretty amazing. And we have no plans to stop any time soon. Here’s to building a love of reading from an early age.

3. Every time you buy a Happy Meal in participating countries, a donation is made to local RMHC Chapters. 

The donation may be one cent or more, but when you’re operating at McDonald’s scale, it all  adds up quick. Globally, over $100 million has been raised through Happy Meal donations since 2004. That translates to 1.25 million nights at Ronald McDonald House Charities programs for families with ill or injured children.

4. We’ve removed ALL artificial preservatives from our McNuggets and Hamburgers (minus the pickle). 

Back in 2016, we announced that our iconic Chicken McNuggets do not have any artificial preservatives, flavors or colors. We didn’t stop there. In September 2018, we announced another key milestone in our food journey: all McDonald’s classic burgers* have no artificial preservatives, flavors or added colors from artificial sources, except for the pickle. Our pickle contains an artificial preservative, so skip it if you like.

Happy Meal food items

5. A new chocolate milk will be introduced to U.S. restaurants.

Beginning in January 2020, McDonald’s USA will introduce a reduced-sugar low-fat chocolate milk to restaurants.  Chocolate milk has been a longtime customer favorite, so we’re excited to introduce this new recipe, which has 25% less sugar than the previous one served at McDonald’s.  

McDonald's reduced-sugar low-fat chocolate milk

6. Beginning November 7 at participating McDonald’s, you’ll be able to rediscover some of your favorite toys.

Remember the feeling of excitement and anticipation you felt as a kid opening your Happy Meal? Well, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first-ever Happy Meal, we're unlocking that magic with the limited-edition Surprise Happy Meal, featuring some of world’s all-time favorite toys from the past four decades. Beginning November 7 in over 90 countries around the world, you can head to restaurants to find out which throwback toy you will get and relive the magic opening a Happy Meal! 

* The classic burgers include the hamburger, cheeseburger, double cheeseburger, McDouble, Quarter Pounder with Cheese, double Quarter Pounder with Cheese and Big Mac. National sandwiches only. Excludes local and limited time sandwiches.

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