Burger King’s Australian affiliate, Hungry Jack’s, matched rival McDonald’s decision to add calorie information on menu boards and then raised the ante. By the end of October, Hungry Jack’s will offer a raw-veggie side-dish option.
HJ’s Salad Stix cup will contain sliced broccoli, carrot, celery and bell pepper with the option of hummus dip alongside at its 330+ Australian units. Healthful eating doesn’t come cheap: The veggie side will be priced at $2.50 (US$2.43) with a burger meal or $4.95 (US$4.82) a la carte.
Hungry Jack’s CEO Aaron McKie reportedly called Salad Stix “a healthy snack of necessary nutrients without unwanted [calories] and creates a whole new product category for fast food.”
Hungry Jack’s moves come in the wake of McDonald’s announcement that it will provide calorie information on menus in its nearly 800 Australian stores as it previously agreed to do in the UK. It also comes on the heels of Australia’s National Heart Association’s decision to no longer allow McDonald’s (or other restaurant chains) to display the “tick” or check mark seal of approval for certain foods that pass heart-healthy standards. McDonald’s/Australia reportedly has paid $300,000 annually for the Heart Association endorsement over the past several years.
In New Zealand, McDonald’s last year began a partnership with weight-loss leader Weight Watchers that lets the chain market selected menu combinations—such as its Seared Chicken Burger with side salad and bottled water—as Weights Watchers Approved Meals.
In the U.S., McDonald’s announced in July a series of health initiatives that include a promise to add a serving of apple slices to every Happy Meal by the end of 2012’s first quarter. Additionally, by 2020, the chain has pledged to “reduce added sugars, saturated fat and calories through varied portion sizes, reformulations and innovations. Also, by 2015, McDonald’s will reduce sodium an average of 15 percent overall across its national menu of food choices.”