ORLANDO (September 19, 2011)—Darden Restaurants, the world’s largest full-service restaurant company, has committed to boosting the nutrition of both its children’s menus and its full menus. In a joint announcement with the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and First Lady Michelle Obama, Darden announced last week that by July 2012, children’s menus at Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse and Bahama Breeze will offer 1-percent milk as the default beverage and guarantee a fruit or vegetable as the default side for every kids’ menu item at those restaurants offering a default side. Carbonated beverages will not be promoted on kids’ menus and menu illustrations will showcase healthy choices.
Beyond kids’ menus, all of Darden’s restaurant brands, including Capital Grille and Seasons 52, will reduce their sodium and calorie counts by 10 percent over five years and 20 percent over 10 years.
“This is a breakthrough moment in the restaurant industry,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Darden is doing what no restaurant company has done before – they’re not just revamping their kids’ menus to give kids better food and parents more choices and more control, they’re committing to make changes across the entire menu at every single one of their restaurants. Darden is working to make the healthy choice the easy choice, and they’re making it the delicious and fun choice too. I’m confident that if companies like Darden continue to be creative and innovative and have our kids’ best interests at heart then we will solve the challenge of childhood obesity and give all our kids the healthy futures they deserve.”