As New Zealanders have come to embrace the health and wellness trend, they have also become more aware of the quality of the food they eat, thereby boosting sales of premium and healthier concepts, such as Burger Fuel and The Pita Pit. McDonald's Restaurants also responded to this trend by including healthier options and premium burgers on its menu, in an effort to re-invent its image.
New Zealand suffers from high obesity rates, with few people walking to work, taking enough of the right kinds of exercise, all not helped by low levels of regulation over “junk” foods. Many also believe that no sugar taxes and an advertising and marketing environment geared towards consumption of junk food and drink have led to a predilection for and prevalence of processed and unhealthy food in the country.
McDonald’s global mobile app was introduced in New Zealand at the end of the review period, enabling its customers to manage and redeem McDonald’s offers via their phone. The app, which is powered by Kiwi technology firm Plexure, uses a sophisticated software platform to enable consumer businesses to integrate customer data, such as customer location, and external factors (including the weather or time of day), with special offers and other information to boost sales and improve customer service.
New research into food advertisements on Facebook and YouTube has found that almost all products advertised on these social media sites are classified as “unhealthy”. Among the best known fast food companies, the most popular page and the page with the highest potential reach among 13 to 18-year-olds was McDonald's.
Given that obesity and diet-related chronic diseases are major health problems in New Zealand, some companies have taken positive steps to improve their products. However, such moves have been undertaken on a voluntary basis and vary significantly across the industry.
Premium product development is on the rise, while a reduction in artificial flavours, sodium and sugars is increasing transparency about ingredients and nutritional information. For instance, McDonald’s introduced sustainably sourced ingredients, such as free range eggs.
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