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Doing double duty: McDonald’s carry-out packages feature information-bearing QR codes

Beginning in mid-January, McDonald's carryout bags and fountain beverage cups are featuring a new packaging design with quick-response (QR) matrix barcodes. The launch, which began in the U.S., will continue rolling out worldwide through 2013, with the text being translated into 18 different languages.

This initiative, the company said, is the latest step in its ongoing commitment to provide consumers with information to help them make informed choices.

The company, which has provided nutrition information for more than 30 years to its customers, said that the new packaging is designed to communicate brand stories in an engaging and modern way. A blend of text, illustrations and a QR code will deliver interesting facts about the brand and make nutrition information easily accessible from mobile devices.

"Our new packaging is designed to engage with customers in relevant ways and celebrate our brand," said Kevin Newell, McDonald's chief brand officer. "Customers tell us they want to know more about the food they are eating and we want to make that as easy as possible by putting this information right at their fingertips."

In addition to gathering consumer input on these designs, McDonald's consulted its Global Advisory Council, a group of independent advisors in the areas of nutrition, public health and fitness. These outside experts emphasized the importance of providing access to nutrition information, and support using the new packaging to directly connect customers to information about McDonald's menu.

McDonald's was one of the first quick-service restaurants to introduce nutrition information on packaging, doing so at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy. This latest initiative builds on the company's history of providing nutrition information to customers, also available through in-restaurant menu boards, brochures, tray liners and a variety of digital platforms such as mobile web, apps, kiosks and desktop.

Nearly 80% of the company's consumer packaging in the majority of McDonald's markets is made from renewable paper or wood-fiber materials, it said.

Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald's has more than 34,000 locations serving approximately 69 million customers in 119 countries each day. More than 80 percent of McDonald's restaurants worldwide are owned and operated by independent local men and women.

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