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Happy Meal box
Happy Meal logo, English
Happy Meal logo, Japanese. Text reads "Happy Set" in Katakana
Happy Meal logo, Spanish. Text reads "Happy little box"

A "Happy Meal" is a meal specifically marketed to children, sold at the fast-food chain McDonald's since June 1979. A toy is typically included with the food, both of which are usually contained in a small box or paper bag with the McDonald's logo.

Contents

Product description

In the United States the Happy Meal includes:

  • a side order consisting of small order of fries or sliced apples with a side caramel dip.
  • a childsized soft drink (12 ounces), milk, chocolate milk, orange juice or apple juice.
  • a hamburger, cheeseburger, or a four piece order of Chicken McNuggets.

In some locations, the choices have been expanded to include items such as a grilled cheese sandwich (known as a "Fry Kid"), or more "healthy" options such as apple slices, salads or pasta, as one or more of the options.[1]

In the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and other countries, McDonald's has recently introduced a "healthy option" to the Happy Meal - children have always been able to choose milk with their Happy Meal and the chain added fruit juice drink instead of a soft drink, and bags of dried fruit (or a whole piece of fruit such as an apple, or carrot sticks) in place of fries.

Variants

  • The Mighty Kids Meal is a meal from McDonald's designed for preteens, who are older than those who might eat a Happy Meal, but still not hungry enough to eat from the full menu. The concept is similar to the Happy Meal, in that it provides a burger or Chicken McNuggets, french fries, and a drink and toy. The difference is that the Mighty Kid's Meal provides more food than what is typically found in a Happy Meal, providing a double cheeseburger instead of a cheeseburger or a hamburger, and more Chicken McNuggets (6 vs 4), plus a larger drink (16oz vs 12oz). McDonald's began offering the Mighty Kids Meal in 2001, but the concept was originally developed by Burger King in the form of its Big Kids Meal. Its advertising campaign involved kids being put in infantile situations, to represent that the regular Happy Meal was for younger kids. In the UK it was called the Happy Meal Extra.
  • The Go Active! Meal was a promotion introduced in 2004, and lasted from May 11 through to June 7.[2] Due to the criticism of the film Super Size Me, this item replaced the Super Size meals[citation needed]. The Go Active! Meal featured a Dasani water bottle, a salad, a pedometer instead of a toy, and an exercise booklet.

International naming

In some regions, different names are used. In Quebec, it is called "Joyeux Festin" (literally meaning Happy Feast in French), in Hispanic America and Puerto Rico it is known as Cajita Feliz (Happy little box in Spanish), and in Brazil is known as McLanche Feliz (Happy McSnack in Portuguese).

In Japan, it was called Okosama Lunch from 1987 to 1988, then Okosama Set from 1988 to 1995 (Okosama is a polite word for "child"), before being renamed to Happy Set. In Germany, it was known as Juniortüte (Bag for Juniors in German) until 1999.

History

The Happy Meal was invented in Guatemala as "Cajita Feliz" and was later used by the brainchild of St. Louis, Missouri advertising manager Dick Brams, who in 1977 contracted both Kansas City-based advertising firm Bernstein-Rein and Stolz Advertising Company of St. Louis to develop the children's meal that would promote McDonald's as a restaurant for families, specifically those with smaller children. Stolz Advertising created the original McDonald's children's meal concept based in the Guatemalan idea several months before Bernstein-Rein and it was known as McDonaldland Fun-To-Go because its mission was also to promote the new drive-through window service that was being introduced to the market at that time. Brams delayed the introduction of Stolz's concept in St. Louis because he wanted to introduce both concepts simultaneously in St. Louis and Kansas City. Fun-To-Go commercials were filmed in St. Louis that featured King Moody, who played Ronald McDonald at the time. The Stolz meal featured the first McDonald's in-meal premiums, based on the video game Space Invaders.[3]

The very first Happy Meal in 1979 in Kansas City was the Circus Wagon Happy Meal and McDonaldland Fun-To-Go in St. Louis. It cost one dollar and contained either a McDoodler stencil, a puzzle book, a McWrist wallet, an ID bracelet or McDonaldland character erasers.[4] The Circus Wagon Happy Meal consisted of a hamburger or cheeseburger, twelve-ounce soft drink, a small order of french fries, and a "McDonaldland Cookie Sampler", a small portion of cookies.

Often the Happy Meal is themed to promote a current family-oriented movie. The first such promotion was the Star Trek Meal, to promote Star Trek: The Motion Picture in December 1979. The packaging used for the Star Trek Meal consisted of various images and games related to the film, as well as a comic strip adaptation of the film. Consumers had to buy numerous meals in order to complete the set. In 1992, McDonald's withdrew their range of Happy Meal toys for the movie Batman Returns, after complaints from parents that the movie was unsuitable for children.

Happy Meal toy

The Happy Meal did not introduce the practice of providing small toys to children. In Canada, the promotion prior to the Happy Meal was called the "Treat of the Week," where a different toy was available free on request each week. This promotion continued after the Happy Meal was introduced.

Happy Meal toys have become increasingly elaborate in recent years. While initially they were little more than a cheap plastic trinket such as a frisbee or ball, they have gradually been replaced with increasingly sophisticated toys, many of which are a tie-in to some existing toy line or contemporary motion picture. Between the 1980s and 2006, this was usually a Disney movie. However, on January 1, 2007, Disney did not renew the contract, wishing to use their characters to promote healthier foods.[5]

See also

References


Simple English

A Happy Meal is a meal made by McDonalds, and aimed at children. They come in a cardboard box, containing a main meal, usually a hamburger, cheeseburger, or McNuggets; french fries; a small drink; and a toy. Sometimes the toy ties in with a movie release.








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