We Narrowly Dodged Bubble Gum-Flavored Broccoli from McDonald’s

By Noah Kaufman |

© WB-Images/Westend61/Corbis / © Todd Porter & Diane Cu

Some tricks for making children eat food they don’t want work well: pretending your spoon is an airplane, for example. Some, on the other hand, are disasters waiting to happen. Bubble gum-flavored broccoli falls decidedly into the latter camp, but the idea was tested by McDonald’s to help combat their reputation for packing their Happy Meals with unhealthy food.

According to Business Insider, McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson, speaking at an event put on by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, said the Wonka-esque idea was one of many they had tried to get kids to choose healthier options off their menu. Some ideas stuck, like redesigned milk jugs (which, theoretically would make kids want milk over soda) and a reduction of french fry sizes. Thompson didn't reveal the method used to make the artificially flavored broccoli and said they didn't implement the idea because “it wasn’t all that.” Kids were reportedly confused by the odd-tasting vegetables.

The whole thing was probably doomed from the start. If you’re going to make a vegetable taste like candy, you shouldn’t pick one you’re supposed to spit out. 

Related: Is Lying to Children Really the Best Way to Get them to Eat Healthy Food? 
How to Grow Fruits and Vegetables Fit for Your Dreams and Nightmares 
Science will Make Children Eat Their Broccoli