McDonald`s New Zealand serves up world first with Weight Watchers Approved Meals.

Today McDonald`s New Zealand became the first McDonald`s market in the world to offer customers Weight Watchers Approved Meals.

McDonald`s has partnered with the world`s leading weight management organisation to offer customers three new meal combinations, each with a Weight Watchers POINTS value of 6½ per meal.

Mark Hawthorne, McDonald`s New Zealand Managing Director, says the partnership was initiated for the growing number of customers interested in health and wellbeing.  “It is a natural step for our company which has made a number of significant and positive changes to our menu over the past few years,” he says.

“We are proud to be the only McDonald`s in the world, and certainly the only branded food chain in New Zealand, to offer customers Weight Watchers Approved Meals.  The partnership is a reflection of the work we have put into changing the face of our business and menu,” he says.

Emma Stirling, Weight Watchers Nutrition Advisor Australasia, says she believes the partnership is positive for both Weight Watchers members and McDonald`s customers alike.

“Our philosophy at Weight Watchers is that all food can be part of a healthy, balanced diet taking into account portion control and frequency. We know McDonald`s is one of New Zealand`s largest food and beverage providers and a popular choice for New Zealanders, and we`ve worked in partnership with them to help guide people when they`re eating out,” she says.

The Weight Watchers Approved Meals include some McDonald`s favourites such as the Filet-O-Fish and Chicken McNuggets, partnered with salad or side salad, water or a diet drink.  According to Mark Hawthorne the menu items were carefully chosen.

“We were able to include some of our most popular items because of the many changes we have made over the years. For instance, the switch to a healthier canola blend cooking oil means menu items such as the Filet-O-Fish and Chicken McNuggets contain 60% less saturated fat than they did six years ago,” says Mark Hawthorne.

“We`ve also introduced salads, high fibre tortilla wraps, seared chicken, reduced sugar levels in buns and sodium levels in some dipping sauces.  All these changes have made it possible for us to meet Weight Watchers requirements.”

Weight Watchers Director of Business Development Chris Stirk says the partnership, which is the first of its kind, is testament to the work McDonald`s New Zealand has undertaken to lead the way in changing the face of the fast food industry.

“The partnership has been made possible due to the positive changes McDonald`s New Zealand has independently made to its menu items over the past few years.  McDonald`s takes its responsibilities in this partnership very seriously. They have robust training for staff, are already strict with portion control, and provide accurate nutrition information on all menu items.  Together with the food, these aspects are also important to supporting customer choice.

“While this partnership may seem unexpected, the new Weight Watchers Approved Meals are part of our philosophy that you can enjoy life and all it has to offer while still achieving your weight loss goals,” Chris Stirk says.

The Weight Watchers approved meals are available as a menu option at McDonald`s restaurants nationwide from today.

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