Every time we think the fast food industry has outdone itself, one of them steps up to prove that their work is never done. This morning 800 Taco Bells started serving breakfast. In case your 2am Gordita Crunch Burrito Bowl Nachos weren’t enough, you can now swing through the Mexican-inspired drive-through and grab breakfast.
The roll out is a test to see if the new breakfast burritos can hold their own on a menu littered with greasy, processed tacos, nachos, and burritos. If all goes according to the Yum Brands restaurant plans, you’ll be able to run to the border for breakfast in all locations by 2014.
We’ll grant that there aren’t any off-the-wall breakfast recipes being served at Taco Bell; nothing any different than any other fast food restaurant. “Their menu is what NOT to have,” says our resident dietitian, Mary Hartley, RD. The menu includes egg burritos with sausage, bacon, or steak. Hash browns, Cinnabon, hot or iced coffee, and orange juice will also be available.
She argues there isn’t an ounce of nutritional value in anything on their menu. “There is too much protein, no fibrous cereal, no fresh or dried fruit, no milk or yogurt, no nuts or seeds; the hash browns are greasy (but Yum doesn’t use Phase.) If you love this food, then save it for a rare occasion; if you don’t love it, then skip it.”
These are all things you could make at home, with fewer ingredients, fewer calories, and far less money. At McDonald’s, a serving of basic scrambled eggs has 20 ingredients. I don’t know about you, but when I make scrambled eggs, there’s only one ingredient; two if you count a mist of cooking spray.
Hartley agrees. “I wish these ‘on-the-go consumers’ would eat at home. It’s actually faster. The car, the drive through, the cash exchange. For what? Another nail in the coffin.”
Taco Bell’s entry to the breakfast market is an attempt to avoid any final nails in its coffin. Research firm NPD Group, per USA Today, found that breakfast and snacks made up just about all of the restaurant industry’s growth in the past five years. Taco Bell doesn’t think it’s getting its fair share of that.
Of course they’d want their fair share of a business set up to make the citizens of our country fatter, sicker, and ever-more dependent upon their convenience foods.
Taco Bell is holding on tight to any market share it has, after last year’s lawsuit claiming that Taco Bell doesn’t use real beef (the lawsuit was dropped). They spent millions to refute the claims and correct their image.
It’s not clear at this time what the ingredients or nutritional information for the Taco Bell breakfast items looks like, as the new menu isn’t even publicized on the brand’s website. If you look at their competitors, McDonald’s has a sausage breakfast burrito with 300 calories, 16g of fat, and 830mg of sodium. At Sonic, you can get a sausage, egg, and cheese burrito for 500 calories, 31g of fat, and 1380mg sodium. At Subway, a sausage, egg and cheese flatbread has 300 calories, 19g of fat, and 770mg of sodium. We feel safe in assuming Taco Bell’s breakfast will fall right in line with these.
You could make your own at home, like this Biggest Loser Breakfast Burrito, for 250 calories, 5g of fat, and 630mg sodium, and still have plenty of room in your 500 calories/meal to have some fruit or a Greek yogurt, or both!
We encourage you to think outside the drive-through for breakfast, and start thinking inside your own kitchen!
January 26th, 2012