Burger King Pulls Sodas From Kids Meals
In a move hailed by critics of fast food giants’ marketing practices towards children, Burger King has become the latest burger chain leader to remove soda pop products from its children’s menu.
With Burger King agreeing to remove soda pop products from its kid’s menu, three of the biggest fast food burger chains – Wendy’s, McDonald’s and Burger King – now join Subway, Chipotle, Arby's and Panera in providing healthier options as the default beverage in their kids meals.
“Removing sodas from kids meals is a step in the right direction to reducing unhealthy food options for young children. Sugar sweetened beverages add calories without nutritional value and contribute to tooth decay and obesity. I hope other restaurants and food establishments will follow suit to make healthier choices on menus for young children readily available.” said Cynthia Harding, First 5 LA Commissioner and interim director of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and MomsRising.org have been urging the chain to improve the nutritional quality of its kids meals by removing soda as an option. Now, children eating a kids meal at Burger King will only have a choice of fat-free milk, low-fat chocolate milk or apple juice.
“Burger King agreeing to remove soda products from its children’s menu, combined with the local County efforts, will make a significant impact in helping reduce childhood obesity.” – Mercedes Perezchica
“Soda and other sugary drinks promote diabetes, tooth decay, obesity and even heart disease — and have no place on menus meant for little kids,” said CSPI Nutrition Policy Director Margo G. Wootan. “(Burger King’s action) will help children eat better now, as soda is the leading source of calories in children's diets,” Wootan added. “It also helps to set kids on a path toward healthier eating in the future, with fewer kids becoming conditioned to think that soda should be a part of every eating-out occasion.”
Restaurant chains that market soda as part of their children’s meals are making life harder for parents, most of whom want to reserve soda as a special, occasional treat if they allow it at all, Wootan added.
“About 60 percent of children ages 2 to 5 continue to eat fast food at least once a week. First 5 LA is a proud partner of the Choose Health LA Restaurant program because it gives parents more opportunities to make healthy meal and beverage choices for their children. Burger King agreeing to remove soda products from its children’s menu, combined with the local County efforts, will make a significant impact in helping reduce childhood obesity,” said Mercedes Perezchica, First 5 LA program officer.
“While this is a great first step, we urge all fast food restaurants to further improve upon their healthy options for children and adults by serving whole grain rolls, offering more fruit and vegetable options, reducing sodium across the menu, and adopting a comprehensive policy to limit the marketing of unhealthy food to children and join the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, a self-regulatory program administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus,” said Monifa Bandale, senior campaign director of MomsRising.org’s Food Power project.