The forest-themed meal box incorporates all of McDonald’s iconic branding and design values but with a fairytale-ish twist!
There’s a lot to be said for the amount of heat Mcdonald’s has gotten in the past few years for their non-sustainable practices. Although, we can deem this heat fruitful because the fast-food giant says it is attempting to make its Happy Meals greener! They intend to upgrade their packaging and make Happy Meal toys with recycled plastic or plastic sourced from renewable materials. But the fact of the matter remains that neither of these materials is really biodegradable. So, Malaysian designer Regina Lim decided to take matters into her own hand! She redesigned a ‘Happier Meal’ – one that is free of plastic, created from sustainable materials, and full of beautiful illustrations!
The entire box is inspired by the forests of East Malaysia where Lim grew up. “My parents took me out into nature as a child, and I thought it was important to teach the next generation to appreciate these spaces, which are dying off,” says Lim. “But I think it’s possible to teach kids about sustainability in a fun way.” The pack is adorned with magical depictions of flora, fauna, and McDonalds’ food products! The outer protective sleeve and the inner box are printed on a single sheet of paper, which is then folded artfully like Origami. This also transforms into an interesting infographic that shows us how seeds grow into trees – making the storytelling element a complete delight for kids!
The usual plastic Happy Meal toys are replaced by wooden sculptures of trees, and little 3D cardboard cutouts of animals – an elephant, zebra, and giraffe. Lim’s reimagined design omits a few of the design flaws that the original Happy Meal possesses. She says there is more space in the box to now accommodate fries, nuggets, a drink, toys, and other items. In fact, if you’ve noticed McDonald’s Happy Meal box cannot hold a drink. Our drink of choice is often provided to us in a drink holder, or another bag altogether. But Lim’s Happier Meal can store our favorite soda for us. In fact, the revamped meal box is even AR-enabled! You can scan the QR code on the box to kickstart an educational AR feature, which brings this mystical forest to life. This helps make the design more timeless instead of the usual ‘use and throw’ approach currently used.
Lim hopes that her inspirational prototype can encourage major companies like Mcdonald’s to “make small changes, (as) it can make a big difference because of the impact and influence they have.” Will McDonald’s be on board with this greener and prettier version of their beloved Happy Meal? Time will tell. Although, it is high time for a fresh change, and I’m sure everyone will be “lovin’ it”.
Designer: Regina Lim