No more Kids Meals at Taco Bell by 2014

Obesity has been a steady problem in the United States for close to two decades now. Not only have adult suffered, but children have now become part of this growing epidemic. It has led high profile figures like Michelle Obama to get involved with the fight. Her crusade to get kids to eat better in schools has yielded some tangible results.

It is, however, only the first step in trying to curb this disturbing ordeal. Obama’s program has helped at the school level, but what about home life? Hard working American parents are working long hours and do not always have time to create nutritious meals. That means a stop at a fast food restaurant, which are not known for healthy fare.

Some companies have attempted to modify their meals to add healthier content. McDonalds has gone the route of adding fruit and subtracting fries. They have incorporated fish into their Happy Meals. On Tuesday, Taco Bell took this new found health trend a step further, discontinuing their Kid’s meals. According to the CEO of Taco Bell, Greg Creed, “Kid’s meals and toys simply no longer make sense for us to put resources behind. He added that the move will have an insignificant impact on sales.”

That last line will be one to keep an eye on. Yum Brands owns Taco Bell, but also Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). KFC will still be offering their Kid’s meals, so it might tell Yum that Taco Bell simply did not bring a quality meal to the table. If the company was really looking to cut out these meals, why not do it across the board at all the businesses?

Perhaps it was an angle to try and curry favor with the health advocates. If that is the plan, it could be a double edged sword. While the Center for Science in the Public Interest praised the move away from Kid’s meals, they were also quick to toss out this nugget: “Taco Bell is taking a constructive step forward by no longer using toys to encourage kids to pester their parents to go to a restaurant. But at the same time, it expressed concern that parents will now get adult meal combos for their children.”

Those meals are just as unhealthy but twice the size. Parents may not have the Kid’s meals to buy, but it does not mean they will not stop at Taco Bell for something else. It will be interesting to see the effect of this move on Taco Bell’s bottom line. Parents might find this is a temporary measure, and not a permanent endeavor.