The word “meat” has developed a bit of a negative reputation over the last several years, especially when it comes to the meat served at fast food restaurants (pink slime, anyone?). Taco Bell is hoping to change that with a new “Power Protein” menu that will focus more on the importance of protein and less on the idea of consuming meat.
Don’t be fooled, though. This menu isn’t going to be filled with protein-rich meatless items. The goal is to provide choices with more than 20 grams of protein and less than 450 calories per serving. These burritos and bowls will actually come with a double portion of steak or chicken, meaning they’re they’re piling more meat on for the extra protein and giving it a new, healthier sounding name.
According to Taco Bell’s nutritionist and product manager Missy Schaaphok, consumers are more likely to think “nutrition” when the word protein is used. She’s right, actually. Over the last 6 months, Infegy reports have shown that 43% of blog and social media content about meat has been negative, while only 6% of conversations about protein were deemed negative.
The craziest part? This new menu is actually working. According to Infegy, 91% of conversations about Taco Bell’s “Power Protein” menu have been positive. What I want to know is… do these people realize they can just ask for “double meat” on any other menu item and get basically the same thing? Also, is someone really going to order off the “Power Protein” menu and feel deceived when they see that their “Protein Burrito” is full of steak? If anything, this menu is not catering to those who associate negativity with meat. It’s catering to my Dad, who thinks salad is his food’s food.
I’m totally on board with Taco Bell’s plan to develop a healthier menu by 2020, but I am hoping they go a little further than just reorganizing some ingredients and slapping a new name on it. If people are turned off by the idea of meat, make some protein-rich items without meat. The “fourth meal” crowd will remain loyal no matter what you add to the menu.
What do you think of this move? Silly, or a step in the right direction?
Image CC licensed by Steven Depolo