Do fast feeders need a sugar rush for success?
Modern fast food restaurant menus, broadly speaking, tend to fall into two camps: those that offer nutritious fare to attract health conscious patrons (primarily women who are sometimes accompanied by their kids) and those that say the heck with worrying about weight gain, clogged arteries, etc. and make an appeal strictly on taste (typically targeting young males). Recent news from Burger King and Sonic are illustrative of the pull that fast feeders feel.
Burger King no longer offers fountain drinks as a beverage choice as part of its Kids Meals. Instead, the chain gives kids a choice of fat-free milk, low-fat chocolate milk or 100 percent apple juice.
"It will help children eat better now, as soda is the leading source of calories in children’s diets," Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a group which had lobbied Burger King to make the menu change, told USA Today. "It also helps to set kids on a path toward healthier eating in the future, with fewer kids becoming conditioned to think that soda should be a part of every eating out occasion."
In contrast to Burger King, Sonic is planning to add candy bits to fountain drinks after finding success with a line of Slush drinks that included Nerds last summer, according to an Associated Press report. Customers can add Nerds to their Slush drinks for an additional 30 cents. Pre-Nerds, a medium Sonic Grape Slush has 73 grams of sugar and 230 calories. Once the candy is added, the totals go up to 130 grams of sugar and 510 calories.
Sonic also has a kids menu. The chain’s Wacky Pack offers one percent milk in plain and chocolate, Minute Maid 100 percent Apple Juice, Minute Maid Orange Juice, Minute Maid Cranberry Juice, Minute Maid Lemonade and Hi-C Fruit Punch.
- Burger King drops soft drinks from kids’ meals – USA Today
- Sonic plans another candy-drink mix – The Associated Press/The Salt Lake Tribune
- Wacky Pack – Sonic
Will the future success of fast feeders hinge on chains making a strategic decision to pursue either a more healthful or indulgent positioning? Do you think the industry will lean one-way (healthful) or the other (indulgent) over the next five years?