NEW YORK — McDonald’s once again faced criticism that it’s a purveyor of junk food that markets to children at its annual shareholder meeting Thursday – including some sharp remarks from a 9-year-old girl.
The world’s biggest hamburger chain has been looking to keep up with changing tastes as people increasingly opt for foods they feel are fresh or healthy. Customers can now order egg whites in its breakfast sandwiches, for example. McDonald’s also recently introduced chicken wraps to go after people in their 20s and 30s looking for better-for-you options.
But on Thursday, McDonald’s was taken to task by speakers associated with an advocacy group about its menu and advertising toward kids. As with other shareholder meetings where critics are given the rare chance to face executives, McDonald’s Corp. allotted about a half-hour for attendees to ask CEO Don Thompson questions.
Among those was a 9-year-old girl who asked Thompson to stop “tricking kids into eating your food.” Specifically, she called out the company’s advertising for getting kids to “keep bugging their parents” for the food. The girl’s mother echoed the request later on, saying McDonald’s undermines parents by marketing to children.
Another speaker asked that McDonald’s remove its locations from hospitals, while others asked it to stop targeting communities of color by signing stars such as Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas and the NBA’s LeBron James.
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