Yum Brands to display calorie count for all to see
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Curious about how many calories are packed into that burrito or fried chicken you crave? Fast-food company Yum Brands Inc. says it's taking the guesswork out of counting calories.
The parent of KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver's, and A&W All-American Food said yesterday it will add product calorie information to menu boards in its company-owned restaurants nationwide.
"We believe this is the right leadership role . . . to be providing more information so consumers can make better-informed purchase decisions about the food they eat," Yum spokesman Jonathan Blum said.
Yum's decision was cheered by a consumer watchdog group, which said the voluntary initiative should help shrink waistlines by steering people to healthier menu choices.
"It's not going to defeat obesity instantly," said Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "But calorie labeling is one of many elements that needs to be adopted to help Americans lose weight."
Yum said its calorie counts will be based on individual servings rather than, for example, an entire pizza or bucket of chicken.
Yum said it will encourage its franchisees to provide the same calorie information on their menu boards.
"We're hopeful that it will be at all of our restaurants across the United States," Blum said.
Louisville-based Yum has about 20,000 US restaurants, and about 4,000 are company-owned.
The company said the calorie information will be phased in this year and completed by 2011.
Calorie counts will go next to a product's name and price on menu boards.
Jacobson added: "I never thought I'd say this, but I salute Colonel Sanders" - referring the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken.