Fast-food chains feel need to get real (AP photo / Thinkstock)
Fast-food chains feel need to get real
Lexile

Fast-food chains have a New Year's resolution: Drop the junk.

More and more people say they don't want to eat food they think is overly processed. McDonald's, Taco Bell and other chains are trying to shed their reputation for serving food that is loaded with chemicals.

"This demand for fresh and real is on the rise," said Greg Creed. He is the boss at Yum Brands. The company owns Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut.

Recasting fast-food as "fresh" and "real" will be tricky. Terms like "fresh," ''real" and "healthy" mean different things to different people.

And fast-food chains are indicating they want to jump on the "clean label" trend too:

McDonald's USA President Mike Andres said to expect some changes in early 2015. The company reported a 4.6 percent decline in U.S. sales for November. The results capped two years of struggling performance.

"Why do we need to have preservatives in our food? We probably don't." Andres said. McDonald's restaurants go through supplies quickly.

Subway has started airing new TV ads. They say the restaurant's new chicken strips are free of artificial preservatives and flavors.

Chick-fil-A said in 2013 it would remove high-fructose corn syrup from buns. And it would remove artificial dyes from its dressings. Now it plans to serve only chicken raised without antibiotics. But it will take five years to make that happen.

Carl's Jr. has introduced an "all-natural" burger. The hamburger has no added hormones, antibiotics or steroids.

It's not clear how far fast-food companies will go in changing recipes. But customer visits to traditional fast-food hamburger chains declined 3 percent from a year ago. That's according to market researcher NPD Group. Fast-casual chains, such as Panera and Chipotle, are seen as a step up from traditional fast-food. Tthey saw visits rise 8 percent.

Critical thinking challenge: If artificial ingredients cost more than natural ingredients, why would fast food companies remove the artificial ingredients?

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COMMENTS (58)
  • matthewn-Wre
    1/07/2015 - 10:22 a.m.

    I agre to all that it sais because its true.

  • victorb-Wre
    1/07/2015 - 10:27 a.m.

    This article that I just read was just to tell about all the restaurants and what they were going to do to the food.

  • SheenaLedesma-Hay
    1/07/2015 - 10:55 a.m.

    I thought this is a good job good job Chick-Fill-A you are right the buns are a bit more sweet then usual they are good but they should stop it right now Thank you.

  • gabby10-Bla
    1/08/2015 - 01:40 p.m.

    sometimes when i eat at fast food restaurants they make me sick a lot .and also you can notice that it is not made out of real chicken because regular chicken nuggets do not taste like that .When my dad makes chicken it never tastes like that and my dad is a good cook.






    ggymnast24

  • JackS-4
    1/08/2015 - 04:06 p.m.

    Fast Food restauraunts are getting on the "New Year's Resolution" trend, but it won't be easy. Fast food restauraunts have had a reputation for being heavily processed and extremely unhealthy, and the CEO's of these restauraunts are trying to change that. Traditional fast food restauraunts saw a decline of sales, like McDonald's having a 4.6% sales drop. CEO's saw that it is time for change when companies such as Chipotle and Panera, credited for being healthier, saw an increase in sales as much as 8%.

    Fast food chains have always had that "once in a while" connotation, but I hope this status changes. However, changing their reputation will not be easy for these companies.

  • AugustH-5
    1/08/2015 - 04:06 p.m.

    Fast food resturaunts want to go onto a more healthy path. Fast food resturaunts have been known as horrible places to go eat, with foods stuffed with chemicals,rotten meat, and more. These resturaunts want to wipe this off there record and become a more healthy place to eat. Places like Carl's Jr have introduced all natural burgers without added hormones,antibiotics, and steroids. I think it is good that these fast food chains are trying to change there status from the horrible status that most of them are at now.

  • Ayden-Mag
    1/09/2015 - 10:10 a.m.

    This article is incredible i now know that in the happy meals they have cuties for a side also go-grit which has vitamins A and D. These resolutions are: 100% True

  • ryan0420-yyca
    1/09/2015 - 06:01 p.m.

    I think it is a great idea that fast food restraunts are making fresh food from now on and not using a lot of chemical. I think it is a great idea because so much people ate the burgers and some of them found discusting worms in their burgers. Also some people say that fast food is very unhealthy and some meat is uncooked in the burgers so i think it is a very good idea for all the fast food restraunts make burgers and other stuff nonchemical.

  • allysh-Kin
    1/13/2015 - 09:55 a.m.

    I think its good that fast food places are changing their recipes, but its called fast food because you get your food fast. It will probably be hard to make all those natural foods but in enough time to have th costumers sill happy

  • noahlST
    1/13/2015 - 10:40 a.m.

    I love fast food but if you think about it is fake meet. Also McDonalds HamBurgers don't make it look like how it is advertised on TV.

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