Fast food seems to be making a fast buck these days, despite high-profile campaigns exposing the expanding waistlines of America. On Wednesday, Wendy's International
Wendy's, of course, is not the only fast-food restaurant that's got customers lining up. McDonald's
I've been a big proponent of the healthy food initiatives that fast-food companies have been working to establish. Given the recent media attention to the growing health epidemic of obesity, as well as diet crazes like Atkins, it seems extremely prudent to revolutionize menus with a healthy spin.
Speaking of restaurants and health, Reuters reported Wednesday that several Democrats plan new bills requiring restaurants like Wendy's and McDonald's to display the fat, calorie, and sodium content in their menu items. The idea being that while most people get the concept that fast-food is fattening, they don't realize just how much, and if they did... well, they might more readily reach for the carrot sticks or the protein bars than hit the drive-thru at Taco Bell -- or any of the franchises at Yum! Brands
Legislation may seem like ominous news. However, human nature has shown that while additional knowledge gives people added tools to make their decisions, it doesn't always deter them from the things they deem comforting or enjoyable. And fast food may very well be one of those things. With its low prices and convenience, it lends perceived benefits especially when money or time is tight, and many of these factors seem to be at work right now.
So it may not be time to hit the panic button, but investors do need to monitor the effects of the campaigns on public opinion about food and health going forward. Fast-food companies need to continue to strike a balance between offering healthy new options without losing their old identities, which are why they became popular to begin with.
So far, plans seem to be working, judging by success at Wendy's and McDonald's, complete with good sales numbers and soaring stock prices. Just remember, this is no time to forget about the fat police.
Will health-conscious consumers change the menus at the fast-food restaurants? Talk about it on the Wendy's discussion board .
Alyce Lomax welcomes your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.