Category Archives: Taco Bell

Anticipate More Options For Cheese On Sandwiches

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The parent of Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell has entered into a marketing agreement with The National Dairy Checkoff, a mandatory program by which milk producers ‘contribute’ to a fund used to promote greater use of dairy products. Yum! Brands and Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI), the company that manages the checkoff program, see their joint venture as an opportunity to “raise U.S. Dairy’s profile” globally, according to an article on DeliMarketNews.com.

Working to get more cheese on chicken sandwiches is a great opportunity to grow sales,” said Paul Rovey, the Arizona dairy farmer who is chair of DMI. “Beyond cheese, this partnership also can help create products that grow milk and milk-based drink sales, along with ice cream and other dessert-based items.”

In addition to adding U.S.-produced cheese to sandwiches in global markets, the pilot program is also looking to explore innovative new strategies, such as introducing cheese sauces in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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The partnership’s pilot program involves promoting U.S. dairy products through offerings at KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants. Yum! Brands, which boasts nearly 43,000 restaurants in 135 countries and territories, is a global leader in pizza, chicken, and Mexican-style restaurant food categories, and is poised to raise U.S. dairy’s profile..

A pilot program in Asia Pacific is also underway looking to add U.S. dairy products in some 2,500 Pizza Hut restaurants in 15 countries. The program is looking to maximize the profile of U.S. cheese in menu items. Stuffed-crust pizzas, for example, use string cheese sourced entirely from the U.S, according to Enrique Ramirez, Chief Financial and Strategic Officer for Pizza Hut, and innovative menu offerings like this can significantly increase U.S. dairy sales abroad. 

U.S. dairy farmers, importers and DMI have brought us tremendous value in dairy expertise and innovation,” said Greg Creed, CEO of Yum! Brands. “I’m incredibly excited about taking this relationship to international markets.”

The pilot programs’ approach is based on the successful model, employed by the partnership through Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in the U.S, which focused on on-site Checkoff employees working with the food service companies to develop dairy-friendly menu items like Pizza Hut’s Grilled Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza and Taco Bell’s Quesalupa.

Coming Election Cited For Slower Fast Food Sales

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A growing number of restaurant chain executives says consumer uncertainty about the upcoming election is negatively impacting sales in their stores. Some  chains, according to a recent article in Nation’s Restaurant News, have seen sharp sales drops in recent months.

Among the latest executives to blame the election was Greg Creed, Yum! Brands Inc. CEO. Yum owns and operates KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut stores across the U.S. and, to a lesser degree, abroad.

“It goes without saying that people are trying to decide who to choose and what the impact will be on the economy, and I think people are maybe just hunkering down a little bit,” he said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call last Thursday.

Earlier this summer, The Wendy’s Co. CEO Todd Penegor also cited the uncertainty. “When a consumer is a little uncertain around their future and really trying to figure out what this election cycle really means to them, they’re not as apt to spend as freely as they might have even just a couple of quarters ago,” he said.

In August, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc. CFO William Matt struck a similar chord. “What we also see is that there is a little more uncertainty with the consumer,” he said. “We’re not too sure what’s causing that, but our speculation would be, we think there is a rather unusual election going on and we think that unusual election is causing some uncertainty.”

Well, we (at FoodTradeTrends.com) know something else that is pulling fast-feeders sales down: The growing shifts, among consumers, for healthier fare, for organic foods, and for more nutritious foods.

We’ve reported on this before – particularly on how Millennials are opting for healthier foods and for eating at home as many as six, seven nights per week – and we will be reporting on it more in coming weeks.

We’ll also be watching restaurant sales, to see if they do go up after the election – regardless of who wins!

 

Taco Bell’s Menu ‘Among Healthiest’ Of Fast Food Chains

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Taco Bell has subtly become one of the healthiest fast-food chains, Business Insider has reported.

The shift, from a chain traditionally known for fried, cheesy specialties to which the term “healthy” was never attached, has been accomplished over the past four years since the arrival there of dietician and product developer Missy Nelson. Since then, Taco Bell has pledged to cut artificial ingredientsand switch to cage-free eggs. The brand has introduced the lower-calorie Fresco menu, the high-protein Cantina menu, and a vegetarian menu certified by the American Vegetarian Association. Across all offerings, there has been a 15% reduction in sodium.

In the same time frame, the taco chain has also premiered the Doritos Locos taco, the waffle taco, and, most recently, the uber-cheesy Quesalupa.

Clearly, nutrition-savvy advances can coexist with products that few would put on their diet plans.

Taco Bell’s game plan for adding healthy options while releasing craveable hits is simple.

“We just really encourage people to customize to however it fits their lifestyle,” Nelson says.

From top to bottom, Taco Bell, especially in its online and mobile ordering platforms, has been subtly organized to promote this sense of choice — whether to pig out or to eat healthy.

Not eating meat? Click “Vegetarian” to see all the veggie and vegan options. Want to cut calories? Simply hit the “make it Fresco” button to cut cheese, rice, and sour cream and add pico de gallo.

“It’s one click and it automatically does it for you,” Nelson says of the Fresco option. “Now we’re seeing a huge increase in Fresco-style orders through our mobile ordering.”

Then comes the endless options to customize.

It’s a system that can be used to create a monster burrito, filled with bacon, potatoes, and spicy ranch. But it can also be used to shave some calories and fat off your meal. And no matter what you order, it’s equally easy to figure out the nutritional information with the customizable nutrition calculator.

Nelson also says tiny details, such as the font style and the phrasing on the online list of ingredients, have been tweaked to make it easier for customers to read and understand the menu.

By positioning its nutrition strategy around choice, Taco Bell gets to keep less-than-healthy options on the menu. It also frees the chain of the need to directly compete with health-obsessed fast-casual chains like Chipotle when it comes to nutrition.

“Us touting ourselves as a health halo — it’s not authentic and it’s not real,” Taco Bell spokesman Alec Boyle says.

Instead of running ad campaigns focused on health and freshness, the company prefers to make nutritional information available to those who want to make healthier choices. That ranges from providing online FAQs for customers searching for the best way to eat healthy at Taco Bell to having more in-depth conversations with “influencers” who are interested in the topic.

Nelson has led the chain in making some changes that affect the entire menu, such as the move toward cutting sodium and simplifying ingredients.

Overall, however, the onus at Taco Bell is on customers to be healthy. The fast-food chain has provided taco lovers with surprisingly useful nutrition tools — now, they just have to use them.