NEW YORK (AP) — McDonald's once again faced criticism, this time at its annual shareholder meeting Thursday, that it's a purveyor of junk food that markets to children.
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 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 at its shareholder meeting, McDonald's was taken to task by speakers associated with an advocacy group about its menu and marketing toward kids. As with other shareholder meetings, McDonald's Corp. allotted about a half-hour for anyone who owned its stock to address its top executives.
Among those was a 9-year-old girl who asked CEO Don Thompson to stop “tricking kids into eating your food.” Later on, the girl's mother echoed the request, 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.
Three of the individuals were members of Corporate Accountability, which has been critical of the company's marketing practices. Others were health professionals, parents or writers linked to the group.
Thompson stood by the company's menu, saying McDonald's doesn't sell “junk food,” pointing to items such as the yogurt parfait and side salad and noting that the company has been adding more fruits and vegetables to its menu.
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