Consumers Crave Healthy Menus: Are You In or Are You Out?

One of the hottest trends in fast food is healthy food, or at least food with the perception that it is healthier. Many industry analysts state that if you aren’t already on the health bandwagon, you had better get moving. Offering healthier options has been fueled by consumer desire for healthier options with those chains with the foresight to fill this need and jumping ahead in the pack.

Here are some of the more recent, healthier additions in chains across the country:

Burger King: Veggie and Turkey Burgers:

A limited-time-offer for the spring, if it takes off, it could well become a permanent addition to the menu:

http://www.bk.com/en/us/company-info/news-press/detail/burger-king-celebrates-the-arrival-of-the-spring-season-with-new-burger-fest-2890.html

McDonald’s is getting into the game as well with its Egg White Delight which releases nationwide on April 22 of this year. It boasts 50 fewer calories than the Egg McMuffin (already one of the healthiest items on the menu) and also features a whole wheat English muffin. In addition, you can request egg whites on any breakfast sandwich:

http://money.cnn.com/2013/03/14/news/companies/mcdonalds-egg-whites/index.html

In an article on the Associated Press Website, Taco Bell has committed to making 20% of its combo meals meet the federal guidelines for fat and calories. Last year’s foray into the healthy eating market with its debut of the Cantina Bell line has paved the pathway to this initiative:

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/taco-bell-going-health-kick

Subway just debuted 2 new LTO sandwiches: Smokehouse BBQ Chicken and Chicken Teriyaki with spinach. Already a healthy eating mecca, and a real life threat to McDonalds, this is just another reason why Subway is at the top of the heap:

http://www.subway.com/Menu/MenuCategoryItems.aspx?CC=USA&LC=ENG&MenuTypeId=1&MenuId=56

Hardee’s has a whole category of healthy options, touted as the “Better for You Options”. They include Veg It®, Trim It®, Gluten-Sensitive®, and Low Carb It® menu selections. Their menu customization makes it very easy to satisfy the needs of many differing dietary requirements:

http://www.hardees.com/menu

Already considered one of the more healthy chains, Panera has added a hidden menu that caters to the gluten-free crowd and includes Power Breakfast Bowls, Power Salad options, and Power Hummus and Power Steak Bowls. It was launched nationally early this year:

http://mypanera.panerabread.com/articlestips/article/access-into-paneras-hidden-menu/

Wendy’s just launched a line of flatbread sandwiches that showcase a 5 grain bread, and are available through May of this year:

http://nrn.com/latest-headlines/wendy-s-launches-flatbread-sandwiches

Of course, all chains hope to benefit from the addition of healthier food items, as these seem to drive sales in a more health-conscious marketplace. A chain’s ability to churn out an interesting portfolio of products could very well be the barometer for future successes.

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