McDonald’s CEO Says, ‘We Don’t Sell Junk Food’

    May 30, 2013
    Sean Patterson
    Comments are off for this post.

This week, during McDonald’s annual shareholders meeting, McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson fielded a question about nutrition from a 9-year-old girl.

The girl, who identified herself as Hannah, took issue with the famous fast food company selling food that isn’t good for children using “toys and cartoon characters.” She claims that children her age are suffering from obesity and diabetes, and ends her statement with the question, “Mr. Thompson, don’t you want kids to be healthy so they can live a happy life?”

Sure, it’s a loaded question. One she was no doubt coached into asking by adults who used her as a sympathetic prop. However, Thompson’s answer shows that he may not have been prepared to fend off such a question at the shareholder’s meeting.

Thompson begins his answer by saying, “First off, we don’t sell junk food Hannah.” With junk food generally defined as food with low nutritional value, Thompson’s statement implies that all of McDonald’s food has at least a better-than-low nutritional value.

Thompson goes on to provide a personal anecdote, stating that his children eat McDonald’s, but that they also cook “foods and veggies” at home. He points out that McDonald’s sells apples and salads, and says that the company will try to provide products like kiwi-on-a-stick and pineapple in the future. Thompson’s response, in full:

Hannah, thank you very much for your question and by the way it’s good to meet you upfront. Couple of things Hanna. First off, we don’t sell junk food, Hannah. My kids also eat McDonald’s, when they were about your size to my son who is with us was a little bit bigger – he was a football player – and also they cook with me at home. I love to cook, we cook a lot of foods and veggies at home. We serve a lot of foods and veggies at McDonald’s and are trying to sell even more with the apples that we introduced into the Happy Meal. We serve different foods and different variety. I was telling you a little bit earlier about things we would like to introduce even more, there is a affinity for them, like kiwi on a stick and pineapples, and we serve salads ,and we serve those for a dollar on the Dollar Menu and they are very affordable. And so there’s a lot of things that we’ve done, our chicken nugget happy meals, fat free milk, both. We also just changed the chocolate factory milk. We are making a lot of changes at McDonald’s and we will continue to. I think it’s really great that you want to continue eating more fruits and more vegetables. I honestly hope even more kids do. I know that as my kids came up sometimes I had to nudge them a little bit more to eat some more fruits and vegetables, but they did eat quite a bit of fruits and vegetables and that’s what we served in our household as well. So thanks so much for the question. Next question?

  • jerry

    i think her parents put her up to writting this note , but really wrote it for her and their only reasons for it was to recieve freebies and for 15 minutes of fame

  • http://newbizshop.com derek

    How about the parents not take there kids to Mcdonalds in the first place to eat or tell there children to go there. Kids being fat is not McDonalds problem, it’s the parents problem because the parents are supplying the food there kid eat’s.

    They need to teach there kids how to eat healthy. Sorry, it’s the parents to blame on this.

  • qr

    blame the parents not the fast food chains.

  • MGK

    McDonalds has always at least, been more or less, stated as “junk food”. I would expect the CEO to say, we don’t make junk food.
    McDonalds also (at least in Northern Virginia area), is the store where you will not find American HS students working. They also have a problem with English.

  • http://FunkyLizard.net Brigitte

    American parents are “willing to die for their children”. What a crock. They are not even willing to cook decent for them and feed them properly. When the Government tells you to cook hamburger meat long and hot enough to “kill” the feces in it you are eating “junk food” or “crap food” literally. With “well done feces”.

  • Tom

    I personally regard McDonalds’ offerings as pure “junk food” and I’ve taught my kids the dangers of patronizing McDonalds’ and other establishments like them. If they choose to patronize McDonalds then that’s their choice and they do so at their own peril. Regardless of what the McDonalds CEO claims, the long term ingestion of their offerings has health risks that are not justifiable and easy to avoid. If others want to eat that packaged garbage, then so be it.

  • susani

    I like mcdonalds and fine that it I want to I can make good decision. We have become a nation of whinners always looking for someone to blame for our problems. We need to step to the plate and take resposibility back for personal choices.

  • Nina

    Yes parents are completely to blame on this one. My mom always scolded me for asking for McDonalds when I was younger and we literally never went there. The only times I went there as a kid was when I was at a friend’s house and the parents took me, I thought it was so cool, I remember. Now… I’m glad my mom wasn’t like those parents or I would probably be obese.
    Now McDonalds is being extremely obnoxious in this statement though, yes people have free will to go, but let’s be honest about what you’re selling. Not junk food? C’mon!!

  • Shannon

    Of course, it’s junk food, but that’s okay. I like junk food! By the way, this CEO needs to attend some remedial English, spelling and grammar classes. His letter is a great example of how lazy and stupid a lot of people have become. In addition, what does the fact that he served fruits and vegetables to his kids in his own home have to do with whether McDonald’s food is junk? He did a poor job of stating his case and didn’t really defend the “quality” of his company’s food at all.

  • Shelly

    Let me start by saying that I, personally, do not eat at McDonald’s because I do not like their food. Neither do my kids. But for this child’s parents to put her up there to say such a ridiculous thing like “tricking kids into thinking they’re eating healthy” because they put a TOY in the meal? Give me a break! It’s the parents’ job to teach the kids what’s healthy and what is not. Although I do not support McDonald’s because I feel that the food is very unhealthy, I also think they have every right to run their business as they see fit! If people don’t like it, they don’t have to eat there.

  • Julie

    Everything McDonalds sells is garbage, but they’ve always sold garbage so if people choose to eat there and get fat, it’s on you. You can’t blame McDonald’s because you are too stupid to read the food facts or too lazy cook for your family at home.

  • Jimmie

    Obviously everyone here has a broad definition of junk food. You can eat at McD and not get fat. You can also not eat at McD and get fat. It’s all about the choices you make, just because they offer the awful food, doesn’t mean you have to get it AND make it a large….

  • Ronald

    It’s funny when people think that a Quarter-Pounder from McDonalds with fries and a milkshake is any less healthy for you than a burger from a restaurant with fries and a milkshake. You can make your own McDonald’s meal at home, and it’s going to have more or less the same amount of calories. Sure, the quality of the food may be better if you make it yourself, but it’s still going to be just as bad for you. It’s not the food that makes people unhealthy and fat, it’s the fact that it’s always readily available and easier to eat than making dinner yourself. Don’t blame the company, blame your eating habits.

  • William Mayers

    Yeah Dan, and ya don’t put your pants on one leg at a time, either. Right? Right? Uh-huh…

  • take a listen

    you Americans are funny! you worship your corporations, sell your souls to them no matter what the product or service. You are all becoming generationally more unethical and immoral that ever before…and yet we must discuss the quality of this crap food….lol
    you better start worrying about your freedoms…you will be crushed by BIG Money, BIG Extreme Muslims, or your own BIG corrupt Govt….now about that cheeseburger…..

  • Alejandro

    Sure, let’s blame it on McDonald’s that parents are too lazy to cook their own meals, and that children are too lazy to go outside and play. When I was growing up, eating Mcdonald’s was a once in a month, at most twice a month treat. How is it that the parents don’t look inside their house and see that nowadays children spend 8+ hours watching tv, playing video games, using the internet. Yes, McDonald’s is known for being mostly soy, but who’s fault is it that people eat it religiously?

  • sonilal bedasie

    can I laugh in 200 languages?