As other fast-food chains are getting in on the healthy-eating game, Taco Bell is trying to appeal to protein-hungry customers at all hours of the day.
Taco Bell recently announced its national launch of the "Power Platform," serving up Cantina burritos and burrito bowls with more than 20 grams of protein and less than 500 calories. This represents a significant calorie cut from the current Cantina burrito selection, which all clock in at more than 700 calories.
Additionally, the taco chain is testing power breakfast bowls and burritos and Greek yogurt as protein-rich additions to its breakfast menu. The test starts in Omaha, Neb., on August 4.
“We set out to create the next generation of breakfast, which we are doing through one-of-a-kind menu items like the Waffle Taco, Cinnabon Delights and the breakfast sandwich of the future -- the A.M. Crunchwrap,” Taco Bell president Brian Niccol said in a statement. “Now we’re responding to people who want to start their day with more protein in a way only Taco Bell can deliver."
The emphasis on protein allows Taco Bell to appeal to healthy eaters without raising concern that reductions in salt or calories mean reductions in products' flavor. Additionally, while Taco Bell's existing lower-calorie, cheese and sour cream-free "fresco" menu has appealed to female customers, emphasizing protein has the potential to pull in a more masculine market.
Other competitors in the breakfast market are also noticing that protein-rich offerings can pay off. Earlier this year, Panera launched its own high-protein "power menu," with breakfast items such as an Egg White Bowl with Roasted Turkey and an Egg Bowl with Steak. Additionally, General Mills recently released a protein-heavy lineup of breakfast cereals, which includes Cheerios Protein, Nature Valley Protein Granola and Fiber One Protein.