McDonald's 'dips' into sliced apple bags

A plastic pouch containing 2.4 oz of ready-to-eat apple slices is part of McDonald’s new New Happy Meal Choices, aimed at providing parents and children with mix-and-match menu options.

Launched nationally in June, Apple Dippers are served with a low-fat caramel dipping sauce that comes in a separate package.

“Parents and children selecting Happy Meals will be able to choose white or chocolate milk instead of soft drinks, or Apple Dippers instead of fries,” says Cathy Kapica, worldwide nutrition director for Oak Brook, IL-based McDonald’s Corp. “Kids view chocolate milk and Apple Dippers as treats, but moms know they are a nutritious alternative, and we want to continue to help children learn balanced eating habits.”

According to The Fruit Growers News, Shelby-MI-based processor Peterson Farms Fresh built a 30ꯠ sq’ facility to accommodate its apple slicing line for McDonald’s. The publication speculates that demand for the product may require Peterson to expand the facility next year. Other processors providing apples for Apple Dippers were not revealed.

The publication did say Peterson Farms supplies the apples in modified-atmosphere bags. The process yields an 18-day refrigerated shelf life.

At press time, neither Peterson Farms nor McDonald’s provided package specifications. The pack itself includes a tear notch that makes it easy for youngsters to open. Sealed top and bottom, and sporting a fin seal on the back, the pack appears to be produced on vertical form/fill/seal machinery. It’s likely that the vf/f/s machine is equipped with a printer that prints a use-by date and an additional code on the bag.

“New Happy Meal Choices is one element of our overall commitment to helping children understand the importance of making smart food choices and physical activity a part of their daily lives,” says Mike Roberts, president of McDonald’s USA.

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