The strangely sweet bun that was so nourishing to bite into after a swimming lesson or trip to the cinema. The sticky yellow cheese slice, a perfect compliment to the tart onions and pickles. The somewhat dry and questionably sourced meat patty, crumbling in your mouth with pure mushy, salty joy. Pour one out for the Happy Meal cheeseburger, because its days are numbered.
Alas, McDonald’s has announced that it will be phasing out the beloved cheeseburger from its Happy Meal boxes in the US, as well as other markets worldwide. As reported by food website The Daily Meal, the change stems from McDonald’s pledge to reduce the calorie count of the children’s meal boxes across the globe by 2022.
The new health initiative, which is part of a collaboration between the company and an American not-for-profit Alliance for Healthier Generation, wants to ensure that 50 percent of all Happy Meal combinations have under 600 calories, as well as limiting their sugar, salt, and saturated fat content.
But what can be expected of this new, um, “healthier” menu? By June 2018, all Happy Meals in the US will contain 600 calories or fewer. Children will be able to choose from chicken nuggets or a hamburger, with plans to introduce a grilled chicken sandwich option at a later point. The cheeseburger will still be available to order, but only by special request. Chocolate milk will also be off the Happy Meal menu, as McDonald’s works to develop a new recipe that uses less sugar.
Happy Meals in other countries will also be reformulated to reduce their calorie count, but this will vary from country to country.
Speaking to The Daily Meal about the proposed changes, Becca Hary, director of corporate communications at McDonald’s, said: “We do not expect there to be any impact to prices. Our customers are at the core of all that we do. We are never complacent and always listening to and learning from them every step of the way on our food journey.”
RIP Happy Meal cheeseburger. Gone but never forgotten.