A Fast Food Resolution for the New Year?


Noble as most New Year resolutions are, our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs when it comes to improvement. The same is true for some fast food outlet, according to some critics.

Associated Press reports that McDonalds, KFC, and Taco Bell are making loose commitments to getting rid of potentially harmful preservatives, and will now be giving customers better information about ingredients. AP remarks that this may be difficult:

Recasting fast food as “fresh” and “real” will be tricky, in large part because it’s so universally regarded as cheap and greasy. Another problem is that terms like “fresh,” “real” and “healthy” have nebulous meanings, making it hard for companies to pin down how to approach transformation."

Companies like Yum Brands (conglomerate of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut) have an uphill battle in the face of myriad findings on dangers lurking in their products. For instance, a recent national study looked at the correlation between fast food consumption and test scores and found that students who ate fast food as little as once a week scored lower. It also goes without saying that there are multiple scientific examples of ways in which eating fast food positively correlates with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

So it’s no wonder that people like Michelle Simon, savvy food lawyer and consumer advocate, aren’t buying it according to the AP:

That’s just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” Simon said. “These companies have a fundamental problem in who they are.”

We are happy to see that major fast food chains are responding to our country’s slow-but-real awakening to creating a healthier reality. However, Simon’s words convey the skepticism many have for giant corporate food. We can only hope for the best!

In the mean time, other more certain bets for fast health food are popping up. Amanda Kludt of Medium wrote this week on the growing marketplace for restaurant chains with a social mission serving “healthy food fast,” highlighting a few new spots in California:

The current crop of ambitious salad chains — including Tender Greens, boasting 20 locations from San Diego up to the Bay Area, and Sweetgreen, its national rival that just raised $18 million in funding from investors like restaurateur Danny Meyer and chef Daniel Boulud — work with local independent producers to get fresh products and emphasize the seasonality of their menus. There’s also an aspect of social responsibility baked into the businesses: Tender Greens offers internships to emancipated foster youth, while Sweetgreen hosts wellness workshops in a thousand classrooms."

While McDonald’s and Taco Bell strive to catch up, we’re putting our money and our mouths on tender, fresher, sweeter, greener … healthier!... alternatives.


Read all articles by Damon Cory-Watson

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