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Selling Healthy Eating

October 12, 2011

An update on my crusade for healthier options at fast food restaurants.

The CEO of Hungry Jacks, Aaron McKie, has written to me about their improved nutritional profile. Their fried food is now cooked in a canola-based oil blend which has reduced saturated fat by 76 percent. Their chicken range has had its saturated fat content cut by 15 percent. They’re also selling a salad range – Salad Stix – containing 112 kilojoules, 0.2 grams of fat and no saturated fats.

Coming on top of KFC agreeing to sell griddled as well as fried chicken pieces, this is promising. Especially considering NSW’s incoming mandatory calorie counts, which will appear on the menus of 40 chains and 2700 fast food restaurants by February 2012.

  1. Tom Round permalink
    October 12, 2011 1:59 pm

    Well done Mr Carr. This is an area where thousands of uncoordinated individual actions often don’t shift the market because separately, they dissipate. For corporations to pick up price signals, they need specific information – eg, they need to know that customers are deserting them because their chicken fries are too fat-soaked, rather than because they are not fat-soaked enough.

    PS: While you have their attention, is there any chance you could encourage fast-food chains to install hand-washing basins (with soap or sanitizer gel) in their main eating areas, so that one doesn’t need to touch a toilet door (or lick fingers) to get one’s hands clean after eating? Having to peel pieces of mayonnaise-covered lettuce off the complimentary Courier-Mail or Daily Telegraph is not my favourite pastime nor, I’m certain, that of other people…

  2. October 12, 2011 2:52 pm

    It’s great to see more healthy choices coming on to the menus of these fast food chains. What I would love to see however is the healthy options being priced at close to the same as the unhealthy options.

    For example, at McDonalds, they have quite a few healthy choice meals, however they cost so much more than the unhealthy choices an you’re getting much less meal for your dollar. So even if there are healthy options on the menu, those that are economically less fortunate than others and eat there because of it’s cheapness still can’t afford to get the healthy option, even if they wanted to.

    • Nick Andrew permalink
      October 12, 2011 6:10 pm

      There’s a reason the healthy options cost are much more expensive – they cost more to make. The fast food restaurant doesn’t want to lose money.

      Healthy menu items is also one of the marketing tricks used by fast food restaurants. Specifically, they offer healthy options to get people in the door, but once inside the brain craves that fast, cheap, high calorie fatty food and some percentage of people switch.

  3. October 13, 2011 2:14 pm

    There has never been more information available if you want to eat healthy. Nutritional information is available online and in print. If you don’t want to use a pencil and paper to work out your calorie consumption, there’s an iPhone app that can do it for you. The only thing causing obesity is a lack of personal responsibility, and the restaurants aren’t to blame for that.

    • Bob Carr permalink
      October 13, 2011 5:36 pm

      When they used transfats they were certainly responsible. And when and where they offer no healthy choices they are responsible. When they load food with salt they are responsible. In addition much of the information is unintelligible.

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