Torino, Italy, host to the Winter Olympics, today (8 February) witnessed the launch of McDonald’s new product packaging featuring nutritional information.

Details of calorie, carbohydrate, fat and protein content are presented in an easy-to-understand bar chart format, along with information on how these levels relate to guideline daily amounts (GDA).

The initiative will be supported by in-restaurant literature, including brochures and tray liners, and information on the McDonald’s website. The majority of McDonald’s menu items will be included in the scheme, with the exception of containers and wrappers used for multiple products, such as drinks containers. In this circumstance, nutritional information will be published on the company’s website and in-restaurant material.

The 26 McDonald’s outlets in Torino are the first to use the updated packaging. The packaging will be introduced to the rest of Italy from March. The rest of Europe will begin using the packaging in the second quarter of 2006, while restaurants in the US will rollout the new packaging from February. McDonald’s outlets in Australia and Brazil already feature nutritional information and will switch to the new format packaging throughout the year. By the end of 2006, the fast food giant plans to have introduced the new packaging to 20,000 restaurants worldwide.

“We listen closely to our customers and understand how important transparency is to them. That’s why we’re putting nutrition information right into their hands,” said Mike Roberts, McDonald’s president and chief operating officer. “Our ongoing efforts to provide menu choice and variety and be an advocate for physical activity are further demonstrated here today.”