by Marion Nestle
Jul 23 2013

Taco Bell giving up on kids meals and toys

USA Today announces that Taco Bell will no longer be offering kids meals with toys or, for that matter, kids meals at all.

How come?  “The future of Taco Bell is not about kids meals,” says Taco Bell CEO Greg Creed. “This is about positioning the brand for Millennials.”

Kids meals bring parents into fast food places.  The article is full of interesting facts:

  • The industry sells more than 1.2 billion kids’s meal annually in the U.S.
  • Fast-food chains spend about $580 million annually marketing to children under age 12.
  • Of the $580 million, about $340 million is spent on producing and licensing toys.

Why is Taco Bell doing this?  Pressures about childhood obesity, of course, but also:

  • Kids meals account for only 0.05% of Taco Bell’s overall sales.
  • The non-kids’ meal will cost more.  The current meal costs about $2.84.  The a la carte meal will go to $3.17.

Will kids want to eat at Taco Bell with no toy as an incentive?  I can’t wait to find out.

  • Cara

    Taco Bell is owned by Yum! Brands. Yum! also owns KFC and Pizza Hut and Yum! talks up the market power of having such a diverse portfolio of restaurant concepts to investors. Instead of giving Yum! free PR for officially terminating Taco Bell kids meals (something it admits it essentially has done in practice for a while now), it’s too bad the USA Today reporter didn’t ask when it’s going to improve the nutritional quality of the KFC not-so-little “Lil’ Bucket” menu including toy tie-ins it launched just this Spring. Or when it’s going to clean up its act with respect to sodium and calories at its “family friendly” Pizza Hut outlets.

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  • This is a good start… even if it is difficult to predict whether “kids want to eat at Taco Bell with no toy as an incentivewe”!!

    From a scientific point of view, hoever, we need to pay attention to the “American paradox” (see this graph

    The official data in this graph clearly show that the caloric intake from fast food (11.3%) cannot be alone responsible for the high obesity rates (35,7%) in USA. This means that we scientists must spend more time and effort educating more on individual DAILY TOTAL ENERGY EXPENDITURE, as shown on our poster at the ECO2013 (ECO= European Congress on Obesity)

    Good APPETITE from Switzerland,
    Leoluca Criscione

  • Hahaha. From my perspective Taco Bell has been catering to stoners for awhile. Having kids and parents in there makes it way less cool. Hilarious.