Thingish Things

Happy Customers, Happy Meals

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jul• 26•11

McDonalds announced today that it will significantly alter the contents of its Happy Meals nationwide to increase their nutritional value and lower fat and calorie content. Happy Meals will now include fruit and the option of vegetables. Low-fat milk and juice also will become options to high-calorie soda. The number of french fries in each meal will be reduced. 

This is great news for the American consumer and for those battling obesity in this country. But, as McDonalds was keen to point out in its announcement today, the decision was driven by consumer demand — not by government dictate.

These pages have for months criticized governments in New York and California for imposing “toy” bans on fast-food restaurants, arguing that government has no right to dictate reasonable business practices. Nor does it have the right to arbitrarily establish what is and isn’t a permissible meal. (Toys are allowed in breakfast cereal, but not with a hamburger?)Armed with that authority, government would have no limit in eventually choosing what we all are allowed to eat.

Statist types cling to the belief that government must be the chief mover in all things progressive. But it has always been the market that reflects human wants and societal shifts. McDonalds happily has demonstrated that again today.

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