McDonald's just changed iconic Happy Meal feature for first time in 38 years (2024)

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Courtney PochinPublished May 14, 2024, 3:29pm|Updated May 16, 2024, 7:48am

For the last 38 years, McDonald’s Happy Meals have been sold in a bright red box, with a yellow smile on the side, and the iconic golden arches for handles.

But the fast food giant has just made a major change to the product, and there’s a very important reason why.

The smile has been removed from millions of Happy Meal boxes across the UK as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, to help teach children that it’s ok not to be happy all of the time.

This follows new research commissioned by McDonald’s which found that 48% of UK children feel like they must be happy all the time even if they don’t want to be.

The new boxes, which will be available nationwide until May 19, have been designed to encourage parents to talk to their children about how they’re feeling.

In select locations there will also be sheets of stickers alongside the boxes that showcase an array of emotions that children may experience. The little ones can illustrate their feelings by putting the stickers on their box.

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McDonald’s is working with BBC Children in Need to provide families with access to a dedicated hub of resources designed to encourage candid conversations on emotional well-being with children to shine a light on the emotional weight children and young people carry.

The hub will be available to access via a QR code on the limited-edition Happy Meal boxes, as well as via the McDonald’s website and on social media.

Football legend and father-of-five, Rio Ferdinand, has teamed up with McDonald’s to support the campaign. He said: ‘I’ve experienced first-hand with my own children how good communication and encouraging kids to embrace how they truly feel can build trust and help to manage emotions – no matter how big or small.

‘It’s our job to empower our children to express themselves freely and support them every step of the way in understanding that it’s okay to not be happy all the time.’

Louise Page, Head of Consumer Communications and Partnerships at McDonald’s, commented: ‘We’ve been proudly supporting BBC Children in Need for four years now, and we know how important it is to help stimulate open conversations about mental health in families. Through this change to our iconic Happy Meal box, we hope that many more families are encouraged to kickstart positive conversations around children’s emotions and wellbeing.’

And Fozia Irfan OBE, Director of Impact and Influence at BBC Children in Need, adds: ‘Ensuring children are happy is at the top of all parents’ priorities, but allowing children to express themselves and giving them the necessary space to articulate when they aren’t feeling at their best is of equal importance.

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‘Mental Health Awareness Week is the perfect opportunity to shine a light on the vital impact we can make on children and young people’s mental wellbeing and we are thrilled to be working with McDonald’s to provide the necessary support parents and families may need to start the conversations with their children.’

Customers can donate the cash equivalent of their MyMcDonald’s Rewards points to BBC Children in Need through the McDonald’s App, to support the company’s commitment to helping children’s wellbeing.

For more information on the resources available, visit the McDonald’s Family Hub: Mcdonalds.com/gb/en-gb/family-hub.html

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McDonald's just changed iconic Happy Meal feature for first time in 38 years (2024)

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