When you think fast food, healthy is not an adjective that comes to mind. While health-centered brands like Amy’s have begun to open drive-thrus around the country and Chipotle is debuting preservative-free queso, healthy choices in the drive-thru are hard to come by. When you hear the words Taco Bell, and an unhealthy mix of chalupas, gorditas, and burritos come to mind. What probably doesn’t come to mind is healthy fast food, but it should. According to Business Insider, Taco Bell has progressed to become one of the healthiest fast-food chains.
Taco Bell’s dietician and developer Missy Nelson has been working on Taco Bell’s menu in America to give customers healthier options. They have introduced low-calorie meals with the Fresco style new menu, a high calorie Cantina menu, and an entire vegetarian menu that has items approved by the American Vegetarian Association.
Along with changes in menu items, Taco Bell has made changes in quality of products. They have switched over to cage-free eggs, have sought to cut out artificial ingredients, and have reduced sodium by 15 percent across the board. While the Doritos Locos Tacos may not necessarily be artificial ingredient-free – it does have Doritos after all – customers now have healthier options to choose from.
Like ordering at Chipotle, customers are being given more power to choose their plate. They can customize their order by choosing vegetarian and even vegan options. Or, they can choose to “make it Fresco” and eliminate ingredients like dairy or rice. They can also do the opposite by adding on bacon, nacho cheese sauce, or chipotle sauce. Whether indulging in unhealthy items like the Pop Rocks Firecracker Burrito or healthier options like the Cool Ranch DLT, the customer has more power to choose what goes into their meal.
Online, in-stores, or on their mobile ordering app, customers are given the same options to downsize their calories and unhealthy foods if they so choose. Changes to font and phrasing has made it even easier for customers to order, so they know exactly what they are getting.
By giving the customer more power to fit their dietary needs, they have taken on the angle of choice. In doing so, they can still keep their junk-filled items like the Doritos Cheesy Gordita Crunch, but still cater to those that want healthier options.
Rather than blasting these changes through advertising, Taco Bell has taken a more subtle approach. They chose to make the nutritional information known, while leaving it up to the customer to choose. Taco Bell Spokesperson Alec Boyle stated,
“Us touting ourselves as a health halo — it’s not authentic and it’s not real.”
With these advancements, Taco Bell has become one of the healthier fast food changes, as long as you choose to make your fourth meal healthy. They have made their nutritional information known, but it’s on the customer to use that information when deciding what to eat.