MCDONALD'S CUTS 'SUPER SIZE' MENU OPTIONS

Drink and Fry Sizes Shrink as Chain Readies 'Go Active' Campaign

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Fast-food giant McDonald's Corp. is eliminating the "Super Size" option from its menu as the restaurant chain faces increasing pressure to trim excessive serving sizes that nutritionists say encourage overeating.

By the end of the year, McDonald's will phase

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out 42-ounce drinks and its 7-ounce french fry container as part of a "healthy lifestyle initiative," according to an e-mail distributed to franchisees. In May, McDonald's plans to roll out an adult-version of its children's Happy Meal that will include an entree salad, water and a pedometer, as part of its global "Go Active" fitness and nutrition campaign.

French fries
Instead of five french fry sizes from 2.4 ounces to 7 ounces, three options will offered, 2.6 ounces (small), 4 ounces (medium) and 6 ounces (large). From a nutritional standpoint, the 6-ounce french fry serving packs 540 calories, 26 fat grams, 360 milligrams of sodium and 68 carbohydrate grams, instead of 610 calories, 29 grams of fat, 390 milligrams of sodium and 77 grams of carbs for the 7-ounce portion size.

Even the 14-ounce yogurt parfaits, considered a healthy option, will be eliminated, leaving a serving half that size. Iced slushes and frozen carbonated beverages will come off the menu by the end of 2005. One-percent milk will be served and Coca-Cola Co.'s Dasani water will be the only water brand available (some stores sold Groupe Danone's Dannon brand).

Among other menu changes, carb-laden bagels will leave the core breakfast menu, making room for better-selling large cinnamon rolls and a sausage burrito.

Since 2002
Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's in a statement said changes to simplify the menu and offer healthier options have been in the works since 2002, when it began testing entree salads, fruit slices and all-white meat chicken nuggets. The company said the menu changes, which will be part of the core menu of all its U.S. restaurants by the end of 2004, offer "an exceptional customer experience that includes a consistent and relevant menu with a range of choices that support a balanced lifestyle."

Sundance 'mockumentary'
The move comes just a month after the anti-fast-food mockumentary Super Size Me won the directing award at the Sundance Film Festival. In the 90-minute documentary, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock becomes his own lab rat and eats a diet of nothing but McDonald's food for 30 days to chronicle how it affected his health. Between segments about school lunches, declining physical education programs and extreme dieting trends, the film follows Mr. Spurlock on visits to his doctor, who scolds the filmmaker for his 25-pound weight gain and rising cholesterol and liver toxicity levels.

A McDonald's spokesman said the move to end super-sizing had nothing to do with the film.

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