A Calorific but Cage-Free Taco Bell

Taco Bell pledges to go cage-free in all of its restaurants by the end of 2016.  And if they make good on their pledge, they'll be the first large chain to go fully cage-free ahead of others like McDonald's who have made similar commitments but say it could take years.  This shift would give chickens more room to roam and of course, help appease consumers seeking a more humane alternative to current industrial egg production.

In addition, the company has plans to, by the beginning of next year, "remove all artificial flavors and colors, added trans fat, high fructose corm syrup, and unsustainable palm oil from what it calls its core menu items."  

This is no doubt really significant but as Buzzfeed points out, the exceptions are numerous - "most important, the changes won't affect beverages and co-branded items, so while artificial colors may be out of most foods, Doritos Locos Tacos and Cap'N Crunch donut holes will be keeping Taco Bell's menus bright."  This also means soda is here to stay.

I can't help but think that this is really tinkering around the edges.  And does it even have the unintended consequence of consumers believing their food is healthy and nutritious?  Take the XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito with Chicken - a mere 810 calories, 34 grams of fat and nearly a day's worth of sodium.  Whoa.  The examples like this are numerous.   

Here's their nutrition info.  While I'm all for knowing where food comes from, animal welfare and stripping out artificial ingredients, we are still left with calorie-dense, sodium- and fat-laden foods that appeal to teens and others, many of whom already suffer from overweight and obesity.