After removing soft drinks from Happy Meal menus and marketing materials last July, sales of kid’s soda has dropped from 56 percent to 48 percent, according to a report by McDonald’s and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Though parents can still order soft drinks for their kids, McDonald's only lists water, milk and juice as beverage options on menu boards. The report, conducted by a McDonald’s supply chain manager and public policy economic consulting firm, Keybridge, is based on surveys of 100 restaurants in the U.S. and 81 locations in Italy. (Burger King and Wendy’s have also stopped featuring sodas as an option for kids’ meals on their menus, but neither company has released data on how the change has impacted their soda sales.)
“It takes more than one year to undo decades of bad marketing,” Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said in a recent statement. However, she did note that the decline in Happy Meal soda orders showed promise—and we couldn’t agree more. Soda contains high amounts of waist-widening sugar and harmful chemicals like caramel coloring, which has been shown to cause cancer in animals and is a possible carcinogen for humans—not something you want your little one to be sipping on!