LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - McDonald's Corp said on Tuesday it will soon tweak its children's Happy Meals, reducing the French fry portion by more than half and automatically adding apples to the popular meals, after coming under pressure from consumer groups to provide healthier fare.
McDonald's -- which consumer groups say should lower calories, sugar and sodium in its meals for children -- said that it would start making the changes in September and that the new Happy Meals would be available in all of its 14,000 U.S. restaurants by the first quarter of 2012.
The world's largest hamburger chain also said it would reduce sodium, added sugars, saturated fats and calories across its entire menu over time.
The new child's French fry portion will be 1.1 ounces, down from 2.4 ounces previously. The new child's fry portion has about 100 calories, the company said.
The apple portion includes a half-cup of peeled fruit and has no added sugar or dipping sauces.
The company said calorie counts for the new Happy Meals will be well under 600 calories. Prices will not change as a result of the new composition, and toys will continue to be included in every Happy Meal.
(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)