McDonald's adds QR codes to packaging for access to nutritional info

McDonald's is introducing new packaging designs on all carry-out bags and fountain beverage cups that include QR codes directing mobile users to nutritional information and other content.

The launch begins this week in the U.S. and will continue rolling out worldwide through 2013, with the text being translated into 18 different languages.

The new packaging is designed to communicate brand stories through a blend of text and illustrations. QR codes will also deliver facts about the brand and make nutrition information easily accessible from mobile devices.

"Our new packaging is designed to engage with customers in relevant ways and celebrate our brand," Kevin Newell, McDonald's chief brand officer, said in a release. "Customers tell us they want to know more about the food they are eating and we want to make that as easy as possible by putting this information right at their fingertips."

McDonald's solicited consumer input on the designs and also consulted its Global Advisory Council, a group of independent advisors in the areas of nutrition, public health and fitness. These third-party consultants emphasized the importance of providing access to nutritional information.

McDonald's first introduced nutrition information on packaging at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy. It is now available through in-restaurant menu boards, brochures, tray liners and a variety of digital platforms such as mobile web, apps, kiosks and desktop.

The packaging is the latest addition to the chain's efforts toward nutritional transparency. In the fall, approximately 750,000 employees working in McDonald's and franchisee restaurants in the U.S. were introduced to a voluntary nutrition e-learning program. The program is aimed to help build employees' knowledge of calories, nutrition and McDonald's menu offerings.

These programs followed the launch of McDonald's mobile app in late 2011 that provides customers with on-the-go nutrition information, as well as an updated online meal-builder that offers customizable information.

McDonald's began listing calorie information on restaurant and drive-thru menus nationwide in September.

Additionally, McDonald's recently published its first nutrition progress report and revealed several 2013 menu innovations in test that will include recommended food groups from the United States Department of Agriculture's 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Read more about health and nutrition initiatives.

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