Dairy Queen announced Thursday that it plans to drop sodas from kids’ menus as of September in an effort to offer parents and children “healthier options.”
Ironically, Dairy Queen is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which is the largest shareholder at Coca-Cola Company, which is Dairy Queen’s main supplier of soft drinks.
But the fast food restaurant chain’s attempts to offer healthier children’s meals are not unique. Many other chains announced similar moves which may have contributed to the 10-year decline in soda sales across the U.S.
McDonald’s removed soft drinks from its Happy Meals last summer and replaced them with water, juice or milk. Wendy’s Co. removed soda from children’s meals last fall, while Burger King took a similar measure this spring. KFC and The Subway no longer encourage kids to take soda with their meals.
Dr. Pepper, Pepsi Co. and Coca-Cola Co. removed soft drinks from school menus nine years ago and pledged that they won’t promote their sweetened beverages to children.
Still, over the course of this decade, soda lost popularity faster among youth than adults. For 2014, statistics show that nearly 64 percent of U.S. teen consumed soft drinks at least once every couple of weeks, while eleven years ago nearly 78 percent had that habit.
Additionally, health conscious public and consumer rights groups had been constantly pressuring restaurants to keep kids’ menu as healthy as possible. Moreover, a series of campaigns led by high-profile public figures such as First Lady Michelle Obama encourage Americans to drink less soda or even switch to water.
Dairy Queen explained that the move was the result of health concerns related to how children feed themselves. The restaurant announced that it wants to offer even more healthy options for children besides new food items such as fruits and turkey wraps. Parents will be able to buy kids water or milk with the menus.
On the other hand, parents can still order soda to a kids’ menu at Dairy Queen or other fast-food chains. But soft drinks won’t be listed on menu boards under children’s meals section or be marketed to kids.
Nevertheless, Dairy Queen disclosed that it didn’t contact Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s owner Warren Buffet before taking the decision. Buffet couldn’t be reached for comment, while Coca-Cola Co. declined to comment on its “customer’s business.”
The Center for Science in the Public Interest lauded American Dairy Queen for its move, but also proposed that it would enrich its healthy offers for kids’ menus with whole grain products and a wider variety of fruits and vegetables.
Image Source: Apkxda