Wendy’s Looks for Healthy Advantage
By George Anderson
It has already cut trans fats from its salad dressing and begun offering choices such as a side salad or baked potato in place of French fries.
Now, Wendy’s is looking to further promote itself as the better-for-you fast food option with the announcement that it is switching from its current trans hydrogenated cooking oil to a corn and soy oil blend that has zero grams of trans fats.
The nation’s number-three burger chain will begin using the new oil at its 6,300 North American restaurants beginning in August. According to the company, the switch will eliminate 95 percent of the trans fat contained in its breaded chicken items and fries.
Lori Estrada, senior vice president for research and development at Wendy’s, told The Associated Press, “The trend is for a bit healthier. We wanted to look at our products and improve our nutritional profile.”
Ms. Estrada said restaurant employees would have to be trained to use the new oil, which has a shorter shelf life than the current one being used. She said products with the new blend taste exactly like those presently being made in the company’s outlets.
The chain has tested the new oil blend for two years at 370 of its restaurants in Florida, North Carolina, Ontario and West Virginia.
The nation’s number-one burger chain, McDonald’s, pledged four years ago to come up with a substitution for its hydrogenated oil that would cut its trans fat content in half. Earlier this year, CEO Jim Skinner said the company was still in the testing phase.
Moderator’s Comment: What will Wendy’s change to a new oil blend mean for the sales of those products most directly
affected such as breaded chicken and French fries? How will the change impact consumer perception and shopping behavior relative to Wendy’s and alternative fast food options?
– George Anderson – Moderator