McDonald's Happy Meal may be for kids, but officially it's above ground.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the company's first Happy Meal, the children's meal that helped McDonald's achieve fast food superiority. Today, about one in four orders at McDonald's includes a Happy Meal, according to detail data tracker Sense360.
Each Happy Meal contains the option of a hamburger or chicken nuggets, a side of french fries and a drink. And a toy, some of which have become collectibles.
McDonald's is celebrating this milestone by releasing some of its most popular toys over the past four decades, including Ty Beanie Babies & # 39; Patti the Platypus and Tamagotchi. Between November 7 and November 11, McDonald's will sell a "Surprise Happy Meal" in 90 countries that will include throwback games.
It is the latest fast-food restaurant that uses nostalgia to delight customers. Since fast-food customers are not particularly loyal to any brand, fast-food companies must resort to marketing tactics or crazy food creations to attract customers.
Here is a brief history of Happy Meal:
The Circus Wagon Happy Meal, as it was originally known, was launched in the United States in June 1979. The meal included a hamburger or cheeseburger, french fries and cookies. . Some of the early Happy Meal games included a McDoodler stencil, McWrist wallet and a spinning top. The box was instantly recognizable with the meal.
After becoming a hit in the United States, McDonald's expanded the meal internationally. It first debuted in Latin America before hitting Australia and New Zealand.
McDonald's added McNuggets as a Happy Meal alternative. The addition inspired a line of Happy Meal toys by McNuggets.
McDonald's partnered with United Airlines to offer Happy Meals on some of its flights. The agreement ended in 2001.
The first worldwide Happy Meal debuted with the Disney movie "Mulan." The meal had identical packaging and toys in 40 countries.
2012 – 2013
As its customers shifted to healthier eating habits, McDonald's began testing Happy Meal. In 2012, McDonald's french fries made the fries smaller and added fruit as an alternative. In 2013 it added milk or juice as the choice of drink.
McDonald's said it would provide cheeseburgers in Happy Meals only on request. It removed artificial preservatives from some of the main courses and added bottled water as drinks. The company said 3.4 billion low-fat fruit, dairy and water products have been served in Happy Meals in the United States since 2013.
Starting next year, McDonald's will add a new reduced sugar and low fat chocolate option. It has 25% less sugar compared to the previous version.