Stop Tricking Us, Kid Tells McDonald’s CEO

May 24, 2013 8:03am

Morning Business Memo…

A 9 year-old girl has chewed out the top executive at McDonald’s for “tricking kids into eating your food.” The rare confrontation happened as CEO Don Thompson answered shareholders’ questions at the fast food company’s annual meeting in Oak Brook, Ill., Thursday. Hannah Robertson, whose mother Kia blogs about how parents can make healthy food choices for kids, criticized the company’s advertising for getting children 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.

The world’s biggest fast food chain has been looking into how 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.

At the shareholders’ meeting, McDonald’s was taken to task by speakers associated with an advocacy group about its menu and advertising directed at kids. 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. Thompson defended McDonald’s menu, saying his company doesn’t “sell junk food,” pointing out items such as the yogurt parfait and side salad and noting that the company has been adding more fruits and vegetables. “The way you describe us is not who we are,” he said. “We’re not predators.”

Welcome to the unofficial start of summer. Americans’ plans for holiday travel appear to mirror the current state of the economy, growing slowly. Airlines, hotels and campgrounds are reporting some signs of a rebound from the Great Recession. But AAA predicts car travel this Memorial Day weekend to be about the same as last year.

A big shakeup for the world’s biggest consumer products company. In a surprise move, Proctor and Gamble says its former CEO A.G. Lafley, a 33-year industry veteran, is returning to his old job, replacing CEO Bob McDonald, effective immediately. The change comes after investor complaints about P&G, and calls for an overhaul on how it markets new products in the US and overseas. The 175-year-old company’s Tide detergent, Crest toothpaste and other products can be found in 98 percent of American households. But it is struggling to grow under increased competition and global economic challenges.

Another ugly quarter for Sears. The department store chain reported a larger-than- expected quarterly loss on slumping sales. The steep loss drove Sears’ shares down more than 12 percent in after-hours trading. But there has been a turnaround at The Gap. After year of struggles the retailer is back in style with a 43 percent rise in profits.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC News Radio abcnews.com Twitter: daviesabc

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