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FOOD HISTORY

The Controversial History of McDonald's Happy Meal

Michele Debczak
David Paul Morris/GettyImages
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The Happy Meal has been embroiled in controversy since it originated. McDonald's first introduced a meal specifically for young customers in the late 1970s, several years after the now-defunct chain Burger Chef launched its Funmeal. Though it wasn't the first menu item of its kind, the Happy Meal quickly became the most popular kid's meal in the fast food space. Not even a lawsuit from Burger Chef could slow its momentum. Fifty years and countless plastic toys later, the Happy Meal is just as controversial today as it was in the beginning.

In the latest episode of Food History, host Justin Dodd traces the rise and fall of the quintessential kid's meal. If you've ever wondered when McDonald's started serving apple slices with its McNuggets, or if the Beanie Babies they gave out in the '90s are worth anything today, watch the video below.

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