When we think of the largest toy distributor in the world, what comes to our minds? Perhaps some big company that specializes in manufacturing toys. The answer might surprise you.
McDonald’s is actually the largest toy distributor in the world. And yes, you guessed it right: it is because of their Happy Meal. They are a great gift for kids too.
So, how and why did McDonald’s become the largest toy distributor? To explain it briefly, we can pin down two key reasons:
- Marketing towards Children: McDonald’s first started their Happy Meals in 1979, each of which included one toy. Toys obviously appeal to kids, and it was mostly the reason why Happy Meals were bought. However, the meals became so popular that back in 1997, when they introduced the Teenie Beanie Baby toy, even adults would buy Happy Meals for themselves.
- Advertising of Other Brands: One of the key elements that kept the Happy Meals fresh was the sheer variety of toys. McDonald’s always made sure that they were constantly collaborating with entertainment companies and productions that were the most popular with children.
These would include NBA, Nickelodeon, Barbie, Lego, and the most popular of all – Disney. Other notable examples would be Pokémon, My Little Pony, Transformers, Super Mario and his friends, or even Frozen; the Happy Meal toys have covered everything through the decades.
The difficult question that arises here is that of public health. But before we go there, it is important to recognize that most people have busy lives. Fast food take outs are usually a very convenient option for working parents. And this is not just relevant in the USA; In the UK, there was a 34% increase in the number of takeaway outlets from 2011 to 2019.
Besides, kids learn through play; so, what is the harm in McDonald’s sneaking in little toys that can make a child’s day? Even though Happy Meals carry a valuable sentiment, the food itself can be very unhealthy, given that obesity is becoming a serious issue among children these days. Moreover, the toys themselves are a great way of hooking young kids to fast food at a very young age.
McDonald’s did try to make its Happy Meals healthy back in 2011. They added a small portion of apples to the meals and reduced the size of the French fry portion from 2.4 oz to 1.1 oz. However, despite these efforts, the meals contained quite a high amount of calories (600 calories).
So, where do we go from here? Well, the situation depends on a lot of factors. On one hand, parents should be mindful about their children’s food intake. On the other hand, McDonald’s also needs to show more responsibility about their products, since people always tend to pick the most convenient option.
Don’t all kids wish to find a cute little figurine of their favorite Disney character once they unpack their Happy Meals? Since McDonald’s happens to be the largest distributor of toys in the world, they do bring joy to hundreds of thousands of kids every day. However, it is high time they started bringing good health to the table as well.