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To boost consumer appeal, replace "meat" with "protein"

Posting in Food

Horsemeat, rat meat, and "lean, finely textured" meat dubbed pink slime... we’ve endured a lot of food production messes lately. And as consumers, the word "meat" just isn’t working for us anymore. Taco Bell is dropping the word, opting for "protein" instead. Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

The USDA recently allowed the pork and beef industries to rename 350 cuts of meat to boost consumer appeal. (Pork butt, for example, is now "Boston roast.")

This summer, Taco Bell will start testing their new Power Protein menu in Ohio aimed at health-conscious customers. It includes items with more than 20 grams of protein and less than 450 calories per serving (such as a burrito and a bowl, both served with a double portion of chicken or steak).

The company is using the "protein" label on its new menu "because of the ingredients in the items." The emphasis on nutrition, rather than meatiness, is one consumers are likely to notice.

According to Infegy, a company that analyzes user-generated content:

  • Some 43 percent of conversations about meat over the last six months were negative, often including words like “bad,” “concerns,” and “problem.”
  • Only 6 percent of conversations about protein were negative, with more associations with words like “good,” “healthy,” and “delicious.”
  • The result: 91 percent of conversations about the Power Protein menu have been positive.

The menu is already being tested in California under the name Fresco Power, which has done better with women than men.

Earlier this year, the Mexican fast-food kingpin made a commitment to focus on more better-for-you food, USA Today reports. Specifically, they plan to have 20 percent of its combo meals meet one third of the federal government’s recommended dietary guidelines by 2020.

[Via Businessweek]

Image: Anthony92931 via Wikimedia

— By on June 25, 2013, 7:26 AM PST

Janet Fang

Contributing Editor

Janet Fang has written for Nature, Discover and the Point Reyes Light. She is currently a lab technician at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She holds degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure