When McDonald’s Invented Bubble Gum-Flavored Broccoli

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Would kids eat more broccoli if it tasted better? A few years ago, McDonald’s tried to answer that very question.

In 2014, the company's CEO Donald Thompson was asked what the fast food giant was doing to provide healthier food options for children. Three year earlier, the chain had already revamped its Happy Meal by cutting the amount of French fries in half and offering fruit as a side option. But Thompson said they had also experimented with some unconventional methods of enticing children to eat healthier. One such innovation, he said, was bubble gum-flavored broccoli.

If McDonald's thought the sweet side dish was going to revolutionize children's fast food, their bubble was burst when the broccoli was tested on actual children. As you might imagine, the vegetable creation didn’t exactly surprise or delight its intended audience. Instead, it confused the young focus group. And even the powers-that-be were unimpressed: “It wasn’t all that,” Thompson admitted.

Don’t worry—you won’t be seeing the strange concoction on the Dollar Menu any time soon. The idea was scrapped, and Happy Meals are currently stocked with more mainstream healthy sides, such as yogurt and apple slices.

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