Last October, the Walt Disney Co.'s domestic park and resort group replaced french fries with unsweetened applesauce, baby carrots or fresh fruit. They also replaced the sodas with low-fat milk, juice or water. And, while fries are still available upon request, they and other food items that now are made with partially hydrogenated oil are scheduled to be free of trans fats within a year.
"This is a great business opportunity as part of an overall effort over the past several years to upgrade foodservice," says Mary Niven, VP, food and beverage, Disneyland Resort. "Many of the changes will be invisible. We want to use our creativity and innovation to partner with parents in making well-balanced meals appealing, accessible, great tasting and fun."
In addition to the kids' meal changes, Disney plans to review the nutritional profile of all fast-food items and eventually reformulate hamburgers to reduce fat, add whole grains to breads and pizza dough, and use lower-fat cheeses.
That's not to say that more indulgent treats will disappear from the menu.
"We recognize that families are on vacation when they visit us," says Niven. "But where we offer indulgence, we will also offer healthier options. It's really about offering choice."
"Over the next year, all table-service locations and at least one fast-food outlet at each park will offer low-fat dining options," says Niven.
None of the nutrition upgrades will involve price increases.