A prominent British politician is urging McDonald’s U.K. to end its Monopoly promotion, claiming that it “manipulat[es] families” into eating more on fast food.
Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party, wrote a letter to McDonald’s U.K. CEO Paul Pomroy, urging him to cancel the campaign and citing recent statistics on childhood obesity and diabetes rates. He added that the fast food company has “a moral responsibility” to safeguard its customer base.
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“In this context, it is appalling that your company’s Monopoly marketing ploy encourages people to eat more unhealthy foods by offering sugar-filled desserts as rewards,” Watson wrote in a letter obtained by the BBC.
“It is unacceptable that this campaign aims to manipulate families into ordering junk food more frequently and in bigger portions, in the faint hope of winning a holiday, a car, or a cash prize many would otherwise struggle to afford.”
McDonald’s U.K. responded to Watson’s concerns by explaining that this year’s promotional menu items have grown to include more healthy offerings, as opposed to larger orders of fries or soda.
“Customer choice is at the heart of everything we do, including our popular Monopoly promotion in which we offer our customers a choice between food prizes — for example, a Fruit Bag or McFlurry, and Shaker Side Salad or small fries. This year’s Monopoly campaign sees customers receive prize labels on carrot bags, salads and our Big Flavour Wraps range and we have removed the incentive to ‘go large.’ providing the same number of prize labels and chances to win on a medium meal as you get on a large,” McDonald’s U.K. said in a statement obtained by Fox News. “Nutrition information is clearly displayed online, on our app, in restaurant and across our packaging and we continue to review, refine and reformulate our menu to reduce saturated fat, salt and sugar.”
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In recent years, the World Health Organization noted that “high-income English-speaking” regions including the U.S., Canada, Australia, the U.K. and Ireland had the -highest rates of childhood obesity after Polynesia and Micronesia.
The BBC further noted that 1 in 16 adults in the U.K. suffers from type 2 diabetes. Watson, who was among them, has reportedly gotten his diabetes under control by “adopting a healthier lifestyle,” the outlet notes.
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McDonald’s U.K.’s upcoming Monopoly promotion is scheduled to begin Wednesday.