Kids’ five-a-day favourite - cucumber sticks - joins Happy Meal® menu for limited summer period as McDonald’s UK & Ireland broadens healthier choices offered

  • Cucumber sticks will be introduced to the Happy Meal® menu from 15th May 2019
  • 48% of parents say cucumber is a go-to option when looking to achieve their children’s five-a-day
  • The introduction of cucumber sticks is part of broader McDonald’s initiative to offer more choices and follows introduction of first ever veggie Happy Meal® earlier this year.


15th May will see McDonalds UK&I introduce cucumber sticks to their Happy Meal® menu. For a limited summer period from May – July, cucumber sticks will replace carrot sticks in all restaurants across the UK&I.

The summer swap comes after new research reveals cucumber is one of the easiest ways to up children’s fruit and veg intake, with almost half of parents naming the popular salad ingredient as a go-to when it comes to achieving their kids’ five a day.[1]

Over 8 in 10 parents admit they find it difficult to achieve their children’s recommended portions of fruit and vegetables, with 33% of parents resorting to hiding it in meals, 21% cutting it into funny shapes and 21% bribing their children with the promise of pudding in an effort to make them eat it.

Cucumber sticks were voted among children’s favourite 3 healthy snacks, alongside carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes, with 24% of parents naming cucumber sticks as the easiest to give their children.

Marie Emery, Head of Family Marketing at McDonald’s UK&I explains “We are always working on ways to improve our Happy Meal® and the introduction of cucumber sticks is an exciting step in this journey. It can be tricky to get kids to enjoy their recommended fruit and vegetable intake but customers told us cucumber is a popular choice for families. More than a third of children already eat it between 2 and 3 times a week, so we’re delighted to be able to offer it as part of our Happy Meal. We’ll continue to listen to our customers and give them choices that work for their families.”

As well as offering healthier alternatives to fries, McDonald’s UK&I has also reduced the salt in a typical Happy Meal® by 47% and reduced the saturated fat in its cooking oils by 83%.

By offering water and organic milk as part of a Happy Meal®, now less than a quarter are sold with a sugary fizzy drink.

In further news, data released by McDonald’s UK on 14th May highlights these continued changes are helping support uptake in healthier choices. In 2018: 312 million fruit, vegetable, low-fat dairy, 100% juice, and water items were served in Happy Meals, including 8.8 million Buxton pop-top waters. What’s more, the alternative melon fruit bags sold in Happy Meals and Extra Value Meals between 2016-2018 were chosen by 1.1millon customers.

Fun cucumber facts:

1. Cucumbers are part of the same plant family as melons, making them a fruit not a vegetable.[2]

2. A half-cup of sliced cucumbers has 8 calories and more than 10% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K.

3. A cucumber is more than 95% water.

4. Cucumber slices over the eyes may help reduce puffiness, thanks to the fruit’s water content and caffeic acid.

5. The world’s biggest cucumber, grown in southern China, was 67 inches long and weighed 70 kilograms.



A Happy Meal® costs £2.79. Cucumber sticks can also be purchased separately for 79p.


For more information, please contact:

At McDonalds, we’re always working on ways to improve our Happy Meal®:

  • Reducing salt in a typical Happy Meal by 47%
  • Less than a quarter of Happy Meals are now sold with a sugary fizzy drink
  • We’ve introduced organic milk and water
  • We’ve made sure healthier drink choices appear first on our ordering kiosks and app
  • We’ve made it possible to swap out fries for carrot / cucumber sticks or fruit bags
  • Reduced saturated fat in our cooking oils by 83%
  • The beef in all our burgers is 100% British and Irish
  • We’ve included 43 million story books in our Happy Meals
  • We’re always working on our Happy Meal to make it even happier

Click here to see McDonald’s Always Working on our Happy Meal Advert

[1 Survey of 1,000 UK parents, Opinium, May 2019


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