What do a couple of towns where more than 60 percent of people are either overweight or obese need? The ability to chow down on a calorie-busting fast-food meal without even leaving the house is probably not on the list. But that’s not stopping McDonald’s from bringing delivery service to Australia, specifically in the cities of Hervey Bay and South Melbourne, where 64 percent and 67 percent of residents, respectively, tip the scales at an unhealthy weight.
The McDelivery service will be available from 6 to 9 p.m. and will require a 25 Australian dollar (about $23) minimum purchase. That’s a whole lot more burgers and fries than most folks purchase when they head into a brick-and-mortar McDonald’s restaurant. In Hervey Bay alone, one out of four children and two out of three adults are overweight or obese. Health advocates down under are worried that the service could lead to even more expanded waistlines.
That’s because McDelivery “just makes it that much more easier for people to eat nutrition-poor food,” Rob Moodie, a professor of public health at the University of Melbourne, told Business Insider Australia. “It’s their job to make money. They have no allegiance to the Australian population.”
This isn’t the first time the fast-food giant has offered to bring its wares directly to people’s homes. An early version of McDelivery debuted in the take-out capital of America, New York City, back in 1994. It proved to be pretty unpopular, but the idea came back to Manhattan a few years ago at a McDonald’s on First Avenue. With 60- to 75-minute delivery wait times, it’s still not a favorite of fast-paced New Yorkers.
In several Asian and South Asian nations, such as India, the Philippines, and Singapore, however, McDelivery has proved to be a hit. As Western-style fast food has replaced traditional cuisine, many of those countries have seen their obesity rates rise. Nearly one-third of people around the globe are now at an unhealthy weight.
McDonald’s corporate communications manager Chris Grant told Business Insider Australia that the corporation is just trying to meet customer demand. Grant also says people who take advantage of the delivery service “can order from a nearly full range of menu items, including burgers, french fries, salads or wraps, and as always can review comprehensive nutrition and ingredient information on our website.”
Moodie isn’t buying that spiel. “I don’t know if McDonald’s has any sense of responsibility full stop. They’ve never made any attempts to be involved in good health,” he said.