REPORTER: McDonald's CEO Don Thomson was all smiles as he was lauded by President Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative- after the company agreed to promote healthier options to kids.
FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: "This is the first time that somebody, with a big player, in the food business has made a commitment in the United States to change advertising directed at children. It is a huge deal. "
REPORTER: McDonald's will also add options like salads and fruits to its value meals. But beyond all the applause - will salads and fruits at a fast food joint ever really have the sizzle of french fries? Food industry consultant Dave Henkes of Technomic:
DAVE HENKES, VICE PRESIDENT, TECHNOMIC: "When you look at the occasions that people are going there for, health is not at the top of the selection criteria, so to speak, and so they have offered things, and I think we see it more as eliminating the veto vote, as giving consumers some options to choose. But it's certainly not something that consumers are going to McDonald's for. There is no question."
REPORTER: But for McDonald's looks matter, and sacrificing some top line for its customers' waistlines - in moderation- may be a good thing.
DAVE HENKES, VICE PRESIDENT, TECHNOMIC: "We don't necessarily see it, you know, as really moving the needle, and we are in a very challenged food service environment. So it's not necessarily something that is going to help their top line. But it's something that from a corporate social responsibility perspective is probably the right move to make."
REPORTER: Earlier this week, rival Burger King unveiled Satisfries- lower fat french fries that have 40 percent less fat. McDonald's has declined to say whether it will offer its own lower fat fries.
The title of this report contains two plays on words. If you weigh something, you measure how heavy it is — but weigh is also used figuratively meaning "to consider carefully before making a decision". • I weighed the benefits of the plan against the risks involved. There's also a play on top line and waistline. In business jargon, the top line is a reference to the gross sales or revenues of a company, or an allusion to a course of action that increases or reduces revenues. The "top" reference relates to the fact that on a company's income statement, the first line at the top of the page is generally reserved for gross sales or revenue. A company that increases its revenues is said to be "growing its top line", or "generating top-line growth" [source: Investopedia]. And a person's waistline is the amount that they measure around the waist, used to talk about how fat or thin they are. • All these burgers won't do much for my waistline.