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Taco Bell's New Plan to Market to Millennials
By: Heather Ewert
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Well, it looks like another fast food restaurant is jumping on the health food bandwagon. Last week, Taco Bell announced that they planned on unveiling a special selection of meals on a new “Power Protein” menu. The menu was designed to appeal to customers who want a little more to their meals than fat and sodium wrapped in carbs. These new power protein selections feature lean cuts of grilled chicken breast or steak bits, along with fresh greens and calorie-free beverages. Everything on the menu is prepared with at least 20 grams of protein and contains fewer than 450 calories per serving.

The “Power Protein” menu debuted yesterday in Dayton, Ohio, where about 40 stores participated as a test group. Recent studies conducted by Taco Bell indicated that Millennials were demanding more protein in their meals. While the results skew toward male interests, there is potential for female customers to be attracted to low-calorie, high-protein options as well.

The strategy began with Taco Bell’s chief executive, Greg Creed, promising to add more items that met FDA-approved nutrition guidelines. Most people don’t know Taco Bell as a purveyor of fine foods — in fact, they revel in its cheap, comfort-food quality. Taco Bell has even had campaigns that played with this idea: Do you recall the “Thank You for Suing Us” ad from 2011? ‘Fourth meal’ from 2007? The Chihuahua from the ‘90s?

But the fact is, years ago, Taco Bell was appealing to a different group of people. The big focus group in the 2010s is the Millennials, and apparently, Millennials want protein and nutritional alternatives to fat-laden burritos. So Taco Bell is taking the first steps toward shaping a new face for their brand: that of the health-conscious, wallet-friendly fast food restaurant. By the year 2020, they have promised to offer meal options that comply with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Recommended Daily Intake Values. That's a big promise for a restaurant that showcases XXL burritos with pride.

With so many other companies already unveiling more modern, lean menus, it’s only natural that the remaining restaurants will follow suit. As I mentioned in a previous article, fast food seems to be synonymous with “fat” and “unhealthy,” and no brand wants to be seen as promoting the U.S.’s obesity epidemic. But will these “Power Protein” items test well? Will they stick around? And most importantly, will they help the company be seen as a viable option for a quick and healthy meal on the go?


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About the Author
Heather Ewert is a content writer for an internet marketing company. She enjoys creative writing as well and blogs in her personal time at http://infernoofcool.wordpress.com/. She lives in sunny Southern California with her boyfriend, Snowshoe kitty, and her collection of Warcraft novels.
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