NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -
McDonald's gave its grown-up customers their very own Happy Meal box Tuesday that comes with water, salad and a booklet of exercise tips.
But given that the big kids don't get a fun little toy in it -- just a "stepometer" -- it remains to be seen if this latest gimmick from the fast-food king will get adults to actually start "lovin' it."
Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald's (MCD: Research, Estimates), which launched the Go Active! Happy Meal at its U.S. restaurants nationwide, said the Go Active! Meals will be sold only for a short period of time, until June 7. However, a McDonald's spokeswoman said the meal option could become a permanent part of the menu in the future.
The hamburger chain has been a target of obesity lawsuits and has increasingly been criticized for promoting "unhealthy" eating habits among both children and adults. McDonald's over the past year took steps to improve its image by launching premium salads, eliminating its Super Size menu options and touting other diet-conscious options at its outlets.
|McDonald's debuted the Go Active! Happy Meals for adults on Tuesday.
The company said that the Go Active! Happy Meals are another way for it to offer customers a balanced option.
The adult meal, priced at $5.99 a box, includes a choice of McDonald's four premium salads, a "stepometer" that clips on a belt and counts the number of steps you take in a day, and a "Step With It!" booklet with tips for walking and working out.
McDonald's, which operates more than 30,000 hamburger restaurants worldwide, has experienced a somewhat turbulent year so far.
Its new CEO, Charlie Bell, who replaced Jim Cantalupo after his sudden death of a heart attack, underwent surgery last week for colorectal cancer.
McDonald's was also criticized for not acting quickly to name a second-in-command to fill Bell's former post of chief operating officer.
On Monday, the fast-food chain operator reported higher same-store sales for April. McDonald's said sales jumped last month, a sign that its volatile European market may be stabilizing, with help from the launch of meal-sized salads.
But looking ahead, analysts expect sales comparisons, particularly in the United States, to become more difficult in coming months as the company goes up against its own successful initiatives last year.