Are Happy Meals history? According to The NPD Group, there's been a 6% decline within the past year in kids meals containing toys at fast-food restaurants. NPD attributes the decline to several factors.
- Kids are exposed to a larger selection of different foods and are more willing to try healthier options than they were in the past, says NPD's Bonnie Riggs. Today's kids are also more experimental and have more of a drive to grow up fast—both of which are reflected in their palates
- Parents are concerned about the wellbeing and health of their children. The Food Research and Action Center reports that 31.8% of today's kids are considered to be overweight and 16.9% are actually obese
- Families are patronizing restaurants that offer healthier alternatives and downsized portions for their children. Operators are more focused now than ever in menuing healthful foods like fruits, vegetables and wraps in kid-friendly "packages"
- There's a slower rate of parties occurring at kid-oriented restaurants. In 2006, 21 billion parties with kids' visits occurred, with 17 billion of them at fast-food concepts. In 2011, there was a drop down to 19.5 billion, with 15 billion at QSRs
Restaurants that have traditionally used meals with toys to lure families with children through their doors may have to rethink their strategy.