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“Make no mistake about it, this is about selling more burgers and fries,” said Professor Swinburn who is Professor of Population Health and Director of the World Health Organisation’s Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention.
'Mum can go in and feel good about her Weight Watchers meal while she buys the kids burgers. Anyone who thinks otherwise is naive.'”
Professor Swinburn said the move was all about getting around “the veto effect.”
"What the veto effect is, is mothers saying: 'No, I'm not going to take you to McDonald's, there is nothing for me to eat there' and so the whole family doesn't go," he said.
"This is another way to get new customers through the door ... (and) they are not in the health food business, or the salad business. They are in the burger and fries business."
Professor Swinburn’s view was supported by leading nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton.
She said the new scheme was likely to have the same effect as the introduction of the healthy Deli Choices rolls five years ago, when sales of burgers and chips saw a sharp increase.
Dr Stanton said: 'It got new people in through the doors, but once they were in they bought the burgers.”
Weight Watchers has agreed to put its logo on three McDonald's products - Chicken McNuggets, the Filet-O-Fish and the Sweet Chilli Seared Chicken wrap.
The partnership between McDonald's and Weight Watchers is to be extended to other countries later this year.