In an ideal world when we start to feel snacky, we crave kale, lust after lettuce or yearn for some yoghurt.
However, in the real world, when we just HAVE to have fast food and nothing else will do, we understand that we’re not getting our five a day from this particular meal. But it would be nice to know that we weren’t also in a moral maze, when it comes to the type of food we’re eating.
Fast-food outlets have not always been the best at moving with the trends that have impinged upon the eating habits of the twenty-first century eater. Sure, we’re not expecting to be greeted by a super food salad when we walk through the doors of a Burger King of KFC. But it’d be nice to know that the products they do sell are being sourced and farmed responsibly.
So good news then, for those feeling guilty—or more guilty than usual—about eating junk food. Taco Bell, amid mounting pressure to remove artificial ingredients and to source products from more humanely raised animals, has beaten its rivals to the punch, and announced that it will stop using eggs laid by caged hens by January 1, 2017.
Well, it’s a start.
Things have already come a long way since the dark days of my youth, where my chicken nuggets resembled the barnyard creature about as closely as the ketchup did actual tomatoes. The ‘100% chicken breast’ reassurances, emblazoned onto their packaging can at least give us some peace of mind (so long as you don’t allow yourself to ponder on what exactly it used to include prior to this—seriously, don’t dwell on it). But there’s certainly room for improvement, and this is a move in the right direction.
Taco Bell’s self-imposed deadline is years ahead of those set by bigger rivals, including McDonald’s, who say they will achieve this within 10 years. The fast food giants breakfast accounts for about 25 percent of all their domestic sales, and see two billion eggs pass through their golden arches each year.
Although Taco Bell use only 13 million eggs annually and say that the first meal of the day counts for about 6 per cent of their sales, it’s a bold move for the chain, who have been criticized and pushed to match rivals including Chick-fil-A and Subway, who have pledged to source meat raised with fewer antibiotics.
The fast food restaurant has also said that it will remove artificial flavors and colours, added trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, and unsustainable palm oil from its core menu items by the beginning of 2016.