Taco Bell was well-known as one of the purveyor of junk food and they wanted to start erasing that from our memory yet they are not ready to give up the chalupa yet. Wednesday, the chain announced that it’s exploring ways to offer more “balanced choices,” marking just the latest sign that the fast-food industry is trying to adapt to shifting tastes and upend the conventional wisdom that it only offers caloric indulgences.
Taco Bell is testing a “range of products” this year, with national launches planned for 2014. He also said existing menu items could also be reformulated but noted that the chain would remain true to its brand, CEO Greg Creed said. “We’re not going to walk away from who Taco Bell is,” Creed stated.
Taco Bell says, by 2020, 20% of its combo meals will meet nutritional guidelines for calories and fat set out by the federal government. People eat three meals a day, as a general thought, that means a single meal would have about a third of the recommended intake of about 2,000 to 2,500 calories. The company has no idea of what portion of meals currently meet those guidelines. Taco Bell is known for urging people to eat nachos as a “fourth meal” late at night, it is a bit of a contrary to the announcement and it gained a lot of skeptics. However it demonstrates just how much difficulty the broader industry is facing to overturn its greasy-food image as people more and more look out for alternatives they believe are healthier.
The lower-calorie options were a key indicator of growth at restaurant chains between 2006 and 2011 from a report by the Hudson Institute earlier this year. The increase in customer traffic rise by 11 per cent by those chains that expanded while those that didn’t saw traffic fall by 15 per cent, according to the public policy research group. As customer “tastes and needs” evolve, Creed said that offering more balanced choices would be critical in helping Taco Bell reach its growth targets over the next decade.
As such, he said product developers have been given “nutrition guardrails” they need to stay within. He declined to provide details on the new menu offerings that are being developed. Taco Bell’s drive to raise the image of its food pave the way for last year’s introduction of a line of “Cantina” burrito bowls that are seen as being more in line with fast-growing rival Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. Taco Bell claims its lower-calorie “fresco” options, which were introduced in 2005 and come without cheese or sour cream, account for only about 2 per cent of sales. “We’ve gone from the whistle-blowing stage to the higher-expectations stage, and some of those expectations are being met,” Mark Bittman, New York Times writer, wrote in the piece, which argued that the public was ready for a healthy fast-food chain.
Those instances don’t stopped fast-food chains to offer more indulgent creations. Taco Bell rolled out hand-held tortilla-wrapped “griller” snacks; one of the varieties comes stuffed with fried potatoes, a nacho cheese sauce, bacon and sour cream, earlier this year.