Banning Happy MealsNovember 9, 2010 by Joshua Gans I have a post up on HBR Blogs today expressing skepticism that banning toys in fast food meals will actually reduce the quantity of fast food consumed. Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading... Related 3 Responses to "Banning Happy Meals" Your argument rests on the hypothetical that Maccas sells relatively healthy food compared to its competitors who don’t offer a toy. I don’t think that is the reality. Maccas is at the unhealthy end of the spectrum. There are more healthy options at a typical food hall, but these do not offer toys. I guess the optimal Maccas strategy depends on which force is stronger: kids’ pester power or parents’ withholding power. On the evidence, pester power wins hands down. Your argument also misses another point. Children don’t know the value of the toy. To them it is just a way to get a toy, and yes parents can offer the same and prevent the purchase of Meccas. But agree wity Dave above – pester power wins, and as a parent I can’t figure out why my son prefers the cheap mecca’s toy over the one that I would buy him. Perhaps it is the “free” happy meal he gets with the toy? This argument also assumes that kids would notice a difference in taste caused by decrease in fat and salt and care about it to such an extend that they would pester their parents to go to a different restaurant. This seems pretty unlikely.