We’ve all been to McDonald’s (some of us more than others). There’s something nostalgic about taking a bite of a Big Mac or a chicken nugget or the French fries. We all love it and some of us regret eating it the next morning (again, some of us more than others). But have you ever thought about what a great investment McDonald’s might be?
And I’m not talking about the stock. While yes, McDonald’s stock has been slightly up during the past half year in a down market, it is not the only thing that is proving to be a valuable asset to someone’s portfolio. In comes the Happy Meal, arguably McDonald’s iconic calling card. The average price of a Happy Meal in the United States is roughly $3.76 but if you buy one during a coveted promotional season, you may be purchasing something that gives you a nice return on your purchase.
The toys in the Happy Meal aren’t made from material of the best quality, nor are they a design piece that will light up the room. However, buying a happy meal toy that has a large collectable market is something that may make that trip to your local joint worthwhile. Some of McDonald’s most valuable rollouts and collaborations came in the form of TY’s Teenie Beanie Baby Boos (1999) and HotWheels (1983). However, it seems that the brand’s toy collaborations are still going strong.
For some of McDonald’s all-time most coveted toys, look no further than what they rolled out in 2022. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Pokémon, the franchise added collectable trading cards to the Happy Meal in 2021. It was so popular that they rereleased the Pokémon card meal again in 2022. This led to a booming response from consumers that outpaced McDonald’s supply of the toy. People woke up early to get their hands on the promotional offerings and bought as many meals as possible – keeping the cards and throwing out the food. A full set of the cards can earn anywhere from $40-$200 depending on the value of the cards; the Pikachu holo #25 PSA 10 alone is estimated at $150. Another reason why you gotta catch them all.
2022 saw the release of the adult Happy Meal in October, targeted to instill nostalgic sentiment with older customers. They teamed up with the Cactus Plant Flea Market apparel brand to create the Cactus Plant Flea Market Box. People can get fries, a drink, and either a Big Mac or a 10-piece McNuggets with their order. Oh, and it comes with a toy that is part of a set of four. And wouldn’t you know it, the demand was once again insane as stores began to sell out almost immediately. Consumers were looking to get their figurine of either Grimace, the Hamburglar, Birdie, or the mascot Cactus Buddy. Employees reportedly begged customers to stop ordering the meal as they couldn’t keep up with the requests. In New York City, the cost of a medium sized adult meal was $12.29 and a large meal $12.89. So if you were lucky enough to snag one, how much would the toys pocket you if you decided to sell? Thousands. One seller is even auctioning off an unopened toy for $50,000 on eBay if anyone is in the market for one.
Calories aside, it may be worth it to stop by McDonald’s every now and then.