The demand for food transparency is leaving foodservice operators with a hard choice: Invest in better ingredients, or suffer the consequences. For fast-food restaurants, the battle can become more difficult. Typically, these large chains utilize quick, pre-made items that cater to speed and taste rather than health. But America is demanding a healthier meal, and patrons are demanding better ingredients.
Fast-food chains are being forced to reinvent their menu and their image. While all ingredients used in these products must be approved by the FDA, the taboos that lie therein can far overreach what is considered ‘passable. Marlin Finance notes a change that sums this point up perfectly:
Subway recently ran ads indicating that the chain removed an ingredient called azodicarbonamide from its bread. The chemical is a federally-approved, commonly-used dough conditioner, but it is also used in yoga mats. Not surprisingly, consumers were turned off by the association, so Subway reacted accordingly. "Sometimes, food additives can be crutches or insurance policies. If a food is frozen, germs aren't going to grow. But preservatives might be added just in case, or they may be used just because their supplier has been using it for so long," Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Such changes, he added, were "not a big deal" in terms of overall health.
The result for many companies is to design campaigns that tell a story about their products. For instance, Carls Jr. now boasts an all-natural burger with meats that are hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and grass-fed. Thus, consumers purchase the story rather than the product for what it actually is!
Quality ingredients with fresh preparation are the key to success. If you run any type of foodservice establishment, you should certainly focus on investing the time, effort, and money in creating menu items with better ingredients presented in a transparent way.
E Friedman Associates Inc
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