Stretch Pants are in and Calorie Counting is out!

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Thread presented by Timmy P

Week of October 3, 2011

This week, our team would like to discuss a growing and sometimes mandatory trend that influences consumer behavior when deciding what to eat at some of America’s 5-Star dining establishments; KFC, Burger King, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s.  FYI, by “5-Star” we mean consumers can count their lucky stars for having the chance at increasing their risk of heart disease, gathering quintuple chins, and upgrading to over-sized stretch pants! Calorie posting in fast-food restaurants (a law in most states) is the listing of number ranges below menu items to educate consumers on the potential amount of calories they will consume from eating that item.  Calorie posts give health enthusiasts hope that consumers’ health conscious mindset will kick in, resulting in the consumer choosing a less calorie saturated item.

Example: Double Cheese Bacon Four Patty Fried Chicken Burger Patty w/ low fat mayo                 250,000-300,000 calories


The New York Times hit the streets of one of the United States’ obesity capitals, New York to see if consumers may opt for a healthy grilled chicken sandwich over a triple cheese burger with a fried onion ring in the middle.  First off, the NY times study showed that out of the 50% of consumers who actually noticed the calorie counts, only 28 % admitted to have been influenced by the calorie postings.  28% equates to 9 out of 10 consumers influenced to select healthier menu items with less calorie counts.  To make sure consumers with poor eyesight had a chance of at least seeing the calorie counts during the study, the NYT made sure large font numbers were displayed on each of the restaurants’ display menus they visited.

To collect a broad measure of the total influence on consumers that posted food calorie counts on menus in New York had, researchers pulled past sales receipts. The disheartened results showed that high calorie food orders had only gone up since the introduction of the law in 2008.  These results communicated  to consumer health authorities that these calorie signs are frankly not enough help consumers win the battle of the bulge.

One aspect that is driving consumer behavior when selecting fast-food menu items is price.  Consumers seem to be enticed to buy the unhealthy, cheaper value-menu items over the more expensive health-conscious food items.  As a result, food chains have increased their offerings of value-menu items such as side salads as opposed to fries, or yogurt to accompany one’s sandwich instead of chips (Subway). [i]

It is in consumers’ best interest to always look at the” big picture” when choosing what to foods to fuel their bodies with, especially at fast-food restaurants.  30 years’ worth of savings from ordering off fast-food restaurant value-menu items can’t compare to the
immense expense of future hospital visits with cardiologists and ultimately, feeling the depressing effects of poor health.

It’s no secret that American born fast-food chains have and are taking international markets by storm.  Russia is a notable receptive market/nation of the iconic American fast-food experiences.  One of the most recent Russian fast-food success stories is the explosion and popularity of Papa John’s Pizza franchises throughout Moscow. Now Yum Brand’s Inc., which owns KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut has created a Rostik’s-KFC restaurant chain; a Russian spin-off of KFC.

Russian fast-food chains financially flourish in a short time by charging more for the same food that is sold for less in the U.S.  Russians currently have more disposable
income than Americans because they aren’t burdened with as much debt, high
medical bills, and live mortgage free as a result of the mass privatization of
apartments (1990s).[ii]

Globalization is a beautiful thing, especially when cultures get to experience the popular memorable foods that have existed within other host countries for decades. There are some exceptions, especially when it comes to personal tastes of the more exotic cuisines.

In Honoi Vietnam, dognappers and dog (pet) owners are engaged in a struggle between keeping man’s best friend alive or turning Scooby into a hearty meal for the family.  It
turns out in Vietnam’s capital; dog meat is a delicacy and a main menu offering
in several restaurants throughout Hanoi.

Well… No comment and NO thanks from these two bloggers!  -We’ll snack on Cheezits instead.  Check out the link below for the complete story:

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1 thought on “Stretch Pants are in and Calorie Counting is out!”

  1. I agree that saving a few bucks for the unhealthy meals does not add up since you’ll probably be visiting the doctors years later for a blocked artery and needs bypass surgery. Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury or the knowledge to go for healthier food. Some families only have about $10 to feed a family of 4. Should they opt for a healthy meal for about $8 for one, or get a bucket of chicken that can feed everyone?

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