Macca's might be famous for Big Macs, fries and fizzy drinks but a popular Happy Meal drink just got healthier.

The global fast-food giant today announced the Keri Apple and Blackcurrant juice which is popular with kids' meals now contains no added sugar, and no preservatives, artificial colours or flavours.

In addition to that, McDonald's started using wholemeal wraps late last year.

"We know we have to stay relevant and also use our size and scale responsibly and show leadership," explained McDonald's NZ managing director Dave Howse.


"We're constantly listening, assessing and making changes to what we offer and how we promote it."

Since the early 2000s, the company had been altering its menu by reformulating items to have lower levels of salt, fat and sugar, changing cooking oil, adding healthier choices, and making changes to marketing, he said.

In 2005 McDonald's hit the headlines when it announced it would trial removing Sprite from 21 outlets in Counties Manukau and replace it with Sprite Zero as part of a programme to curb diabetes.

Two years later the company announced it would take full-sugar Sprite off the menu at all New Zealand outlets.

An independently verified report, released recently, showed McDonald's had served over 6.4 billion fruit, vegetable, low-fat dairy and water items in Happy Meals since September 2013, Howse said.

McDonald's had also changed its marketing policy so that billboard advertising was not too close to schools, digital menu boards no longer showed images of soft drinks which contain sugar and stopped advertising on radio stations during school drop-off and pick-up times.

The company made a "Commitment to Families" in 2018 which focused mainly on Happy Meals and included; offering balanced meals; simplifying ingredients; transparency with nutrition information; and marketing changes.