With numerous healthier alternatives now available, are the fast-food chains recognizing that they are relegated to a market share battle for value customers?
In 1997, researchers at the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that on a scale from 0 (least healthy) to 100 (most healthy), on average, fast-food chains including McDonalds, Dairy Queen, Taco Bell, KFC and Wendy’s, yielded a score of 45. Fourteen years later, researchers found that the use of the words “healthy” and low-fat” have increased 86 percent and 33 percent, respectively, but the average score among the fast-food chains only increased to 49. The average score for all foods available to Americans is 60. http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/05/16/surprise-fast-food-is-still-bad-for-you.aspx
Separately, McDonald’s recently increased marketing and added items to its Dollar Menu while chains such as Taco Bell, Wendy’s and Arby’s are now also testing new value menus.
In the past few years, healthier fast-food chains have entered the marketplace, including Chop’t, Maoz, Freshii, Zoes Kitchen, Veggie Grill (winners of the “best new restaurant” category in the 2012 Los Angeles Times readers’ poll), Tender Greens and Lyfe Kitchen.
While McDonalds is now offering an “Under 400 Calorie” menu and egg-white breakfast sandwich, it may not be enough to retain customers that are increasingly focusing on a healthier lifestyle.