Wendy's to remove soda listing from kids' meal menus

Jan 23rd 2015

Wendy's is stopping its hard sell on soft drinks — for kids, at least.

The fast-food chain is dropping the soda option on its kids' meal menus, the Center for Science in Public Interest announced Thursday.

"While parents bear most of the responsibility for feeding their children well, restaurant chains also need to do their part," said CSPI senior nutrition policy counsel Jessica Almy. "Restaurants should not be setting parents up for a fight by bundling soda with meal options designed for kids. Wendy's is taking a responsible step forward that will improve children's health and make it easier for parents to make healthy choices for their children."

Parents can still order a soda for their child, but it will no longer appear on kids' meal menus inside the restaurant, at drive-through windows or on the restaurant's app.

Now, the menus advertise 1% milk, bottled water and 100% juice.

The groups advocating for Wendy's to remove soda — MomsRising.org, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, and the Center for Science in the Public Interest — cited research in the Lancet journal stating that one sugary drink every day ups a child's risk of becoming obese by 60%.

A Wendy's spokesman told USA Today that the fizzy drinks were never the go-to beverage choice for kids' meals.

"When ordering a kids' meal, the customer is asked what beverage they prefer," Bob Bertini said.

In 2013, McDonald's partnered with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and said it would eliminate soda from its Happy Meals menu listing.

Burger King, which still publicly offers soda as a kids' meal drink, told USA Today that it is "currently in the process of analyzing the removal of fountain drinks from our kids' menu boards."