March 3, 2010: For the first time in the world, McDonald's has signed an agreement with Weight Watchers to promote some of their meals, such as Chicken McNuggets, as ideal for dieters.
Three meals marked with the Weight Watchers logo will go on sale today in New Zealand and are expected to reach Australian outlets by the end of this year, as part of a six-year push by the fast-food giant to change your image
The move comes three years after McDonald's paid $ 330,000 for the Heart Foundation to pay seven meals, including hamburgers and nuggets.
In the new agreement, McDonald's will use the Weight Watchers logo on its menu boards and trays. Weight Watchers will promote McDonald's to dieters.
"This is a noble cause," said McDonald & # 39; s New Zealand chief executive Mark Hawthorne yesterday.
"We serve 1.5 million meals a week in New Zealand to 4 million people and we are doing everything we can to bring about a change in behavior, to raise awareness among consumers about how to make healthy choices."
But nutritionists and obesity experts say the partnership is a marketing strategy to lure people to McDonald's, where they will buy more fat-laden foods.
"Make no mistake, it's about selling more burgers and fries," said Boyd Swinburn of the Australian Society for the Study of Obesity at Deakin University.
"Mom can go in and feel good about her Weight Watchers meal while she buys the kids' burgers, and anyone who thinks otherwise is naive.
Nutritionist Rosemary Stanton agreed and said that sales of burgers and fries skyrocketed when McDonald's marked the beginning of her Deli Choices rolls in 2004.
"New people came through the doors, but once they were there they bought the hamburgers."
In 2006, McDonald's changed to a blend of canola and sunflower with approximately 12 percent saturated fat. He also reduced the sugar in his buns by 40 percent.
"We would never have partnered with them if they had not embarked on a meaningful journey of change," said Weight Watchers Australasia business director Chris Stirk.
The three meals include nuggets (1560 kilojoules), a Filet-O-Fish (1390kJ) and a chicken wrap with sweet pepper (1640kJ), all served with salad.
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