A first look at Taco Bell’s “First Meal” breakfast menu is practically offensive when you consider the country’s obesity problem; just days after the CDC announced that U.S. obesity rates are stuck at 35%, they’ve introduced a menu full of fattening, sugar-laden breakfast foods, without any remotely healthy options in sight. Already joining roundups of the country’s biggest “fast food breakfast offenders,” the menu isn’t just embarrassing because of its nutrition; it’s also embarrassing because their target audience is teens.
The menu, which was introduced on the menu in 14 states last Thursday, includes breakfast burritos, sausage and egg wraps, hash browns, and–the grossest–fried balls of cinnamon-flavored dough stuffed with cream from the Cinnabon brand. The nutrition facts aren’t yet available on their website, but just one look at the ads for their new breakfast make it clear that they’re not aiming to start your day off right as far as fat and sugar go.
In a time when the population clearly needs to deal with its obesity problem, it’s downright tacky for companies like Taco Bell to introduce such egregiously unhealthy food. Of course, you could always argue that no one’s mistaking Taco Bell for a mecca of healthful fare. But what’s particularly disturbing is that they’re overtly marketing their new “First Meal” to kids. Huffington Post reported:
That’s a later start time than most other fast-food chains offering breakfast have. But it’s a reflection of Taco Bell’s core customers_18- to-20-somethings who generally aren’t up at the crack of dawn.
“What we found is, they’re not the customer that shows up at 6 a.m. for breakfast,” [Brian Niccol, Taco Bell's chief marketing and innovation officer] said. “We can get those guys on board, they become the evangelists, and then we can start adding additional hours for people that want breakfast at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m.”
I’m not going to go so far as to blame our country’s obesity rates on Taco Bell, but childhood obesity rates are soaring in our country, and in large part because no one seems to be able to figure out how to teach their kids to live a healthy lifestyle. It’s certainly not made easier by companies like Taco Bell trying to turn them into fast food “evangelists.”