Taco Bell Eliminates Trans Fat by Canola Oil Switch

Date: NOV 17th, 2006

Topic: Franchise News

Taco Bell released today that it will be converting all of its more than 4,200 single brand US restaurants to a new zero grams trans fat canola oil for frying from a partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Development efforts began more than two years ago with extensive consumer taste tests. The transition has already been completed in more than 100 restaurants. All Taco Bell restaurants are expected to be switched to zero grams trans fat frying oil by April 2007.

'''We conducted a tremendous amount of consumer research to make this the right choice for our customers,' said Emil J. Brolick, Chief Concept Officer and President of Taco Bell Corp. 'We know our customers love the unique tastes and delicious flavors of Taco Bell, and soon they will be able to enjoy many of our menu items prepared in zero trans canola oil without any compromise in taste.'

Taco Bell already offers several zero trans fat menu items including Gordita Baja - Chicken, Gordita Baja - Steak and Gordita Supreme - Chicken. After the conversion to canola oil, Taco Bell expects more than 15 menu items will not contain any trans fat, including the signature Beef Crunchy Taco and Taco Supreme, as well as Chalupa Baja (Beef, Chicken, and Steak), Chalupa Supreme (Chicken and Steak), Chicken Ranchero Soft Taco, Cinnamon Twists, Gordita Supreme - Steak, Grilled Steak Soft Taco and Spicy Chicken Taco.

Dow AgroSciences was called upon by Taco Bell to develop the zero grams trans frying oil, and arrived at a unique, naturally stable canola oil that will be supplied by Bunge Oils.

'Our switch to canola oil is the latest example of our efforts to offer our customers more foods with less trans fat, while maintaining the same great tastes only found at Taco Bell,' said Warren Widicus, Chief Food Innovation Officer, Taco Bell Corp. 'In 2003, we introduced 'Fresco Style,' which replaces cheese and cream-based sauce with a freshly prepared Fiesta Salsa. Fresco Style lowers both fat and calories, offering 15 items with less than 10 grams of total fat.'

Multi-brand restaurants, such as KFC/Taco Bell locations, will switch their frying oil to the same zero grams trans fat frying oil that KFC is in the process of changing to in order to ensure the same flavor profile.

Taco Bell Corp., a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., (NYSE: YUM), is the nation's leading Mexican-style quick service restaurant chain serving tacos, burritos, signature Quesadillas, Grilled Stuft Burritos, nachos and other specialty items. Taco Bell serves more than 35 million consumers weekly in nearly 5,800 restaurants in the U.S.