Food fraud scandals from pink slime to horse meat served as beef may have conveniently receded from media headlines, but stubbornly remains in the hearts and minds of many consumers.
And several huge retail food companies are paying attention. If you’ve ever wondered just how powerful and important social media has become to corporate America, consider this:
Blooomberg recently reported that data from Infegy — a company that analyzes user-generated content on blogs, social-media accounts, and other online sources — shows that 43 percent of conversations about “meat” over the last six months were negative and often included such words as “bad,” “concerns,” and “problem.”
But as little as 6 percent of conversations about “protein” were negative. Most people associated it with words like “good”, “healthy,” and “delicious.”
As a result, Taco Bell (owned by YUM Brands) is targeting health-conscious consumers and will start testing a new “Power Protein” menu in Ohio. The menu is part of Taco Bell’s recent commitment to making a healthier menu by 2020.
“It will include items with more than 20 grams of protein and less than 450 calories per serving, such as a burrito and a bowl, both served with a double portion of chicken or steak. The menu is already being tested under the name “Fresco Power” in Southern California.”
According to Infegy, over 90 percent of conversations about the “Power Protein” menu have been positive.
Huge retail outlets like Taco Bell rely on companies that analyze user-generated content on blogs and social-media and then market their products accordingly — in this case, Taco Bell will emphasize nutrition rather than meat packed offerings.
Infegy says to date, more women are talking about “Power Protein.” Taco Bell hopes the menu will appeal to both men and women.
Next month, Taco Bell will introduce upscaled “gourmet Mexican” food items on their new Cantina Bell menu for its nearly 5,600 U.S. restaurants.
The new Cantina Bell menu additions were created by celebrity chef Lorena Garcia, and feature black beans, cilantro rice, citrus- and herb-marinated chicken and cilantro dressing.
Taco Bell’s new offerings will be competing with the food offered at chains such as Chipotle Mexican Grill and Qdoba Mexican Grill known for higher-quality ingredients.
Taco Bell may have some success drawing in consumers that delude themselves into believing they’re healthy eaters, but no matter how many menu upgrades or how brilliant the marketing campaign, Taco Bell will always remain Taco Bell, a fast-food joint selling foods loaded with fat and carbs.