McDonald’s Corp. will replace all carryout bags and fountain drink cups with new packaging featuring quick-response, or QR, codes, to convey nutritional information for its food.
The launch began this week at McDonald’s more than 14,000 U.S. restaurants, and will extend to the chain’s international markets throughout 2013, the Oak Brook, Ill.-based company said. Text of the caloric and nutritional disclosures will be translated into 18 languages.
"Our new packaging is designed to engage with customers in relevant ways and celebrate our brand," said Kevin Newell, McDonald's chief brand officer. "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."
QR codes broaden access to McDonald’s nutritional information by pulling up specific online content on a smartphone Web browser once the user snaps a photo of the code with the phone’s camera. Illustrations and other text will also adorn the to-go packaging, McDonald’s said.
The brand already has rolled out new menu boards to all domestic restaurants to display caloric information for its menu items. The systemwide launch of calorie counts occurred on Sept. 17, 2012, and officials at the time said the new menu boards would remain in place permanently, even if a Mitt Romney victory in the presidential election were to put the viability of health care reform, and its nationwide menu-labeling requirement, in doubt.
The chain of more than 34,000 quick-service restaurants worldwide was among the first restaurant brands to introduce nutrition information on packaging, during its sponsorship of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. For several years, even before government-mandated menu labeling, McDonald’s published caloric and nutritional information on brochures, tray liners and on its website.
McDonald’s operates or franchises restaurants in 119 countries.