Taco Bell Fights Back Against Beef Attacks

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Taco Bell wants the world to know one simple fact. Yes, the fast food chain has got beef.

In response to accusations about whether Taco Bell’s beef is in fact beef, Taco Bell is coming clean about exactly what goes into its tacos. The company recently posted a video to YouTube (above) in which Greg Creed, president of Taco Bell, asserts that the tacos contain 88% beef, with the rest coming from seasonings in its previously secret recipe.

“Think of when you’re making chili. You add your own recipe of seasonings and spices to give the beef flavor and texture. Otherwise it would just taste like unseasoned ground beef ,” he says in the video. “Well, we do the same thing with our recipe for seasoned beef.”

According to Creed, the missing 12% in the beef is a compnay “secret,” which he then reveals as being water (3%), Mexican spices and flavors (4%) and a mix of oats and citric acid (5%).

Delicious? Maybe. But that is not how I make my chili.

Earlier this month, Taco Bell (Stock Quote: YUM) was hit with a class action lawsuit for selling beef tacos that allegedly contain about 35% meat, less than what the Food and Drug Administration requires for taco filling to be labeled as beef.

To ensure that the message gets out, Taco Bell is reportedly going one step further in its advertising campaign and buying up certain keywords on search engines like “taco” and “lawsuit,” so that the first thing users see when they search for these phrases is Taco Bell’s response video.

In this sense, Taco Bell may actually be playing its cards perfectly. As one public relations expert told MainStreet at the beginning of this beef controversy, Taco Bell’s best bet is to focus on new media options to reach out to its customer base.

Still, an obvious question lingers: Now that some have raised the issue of Taco Bell’s questionable beef composition, right or wrong, will it cause customers to lose their appetite and shop elsewhere?

If one recent study of consumer eating habits is any indication, the answer may be in Taco Bell’s favor.

Researchers at Duke and the National University of Singapore studied the buying decisions of customers at TacoTime, a Mexican restaurant chain, which had added nutrition information to its products. The study found that customers’ food purchases were generally unaffected by the new information.

Granted, the data was more about calorie content than whether the products actually qualified as meat or not, but it certainly hints at the possibility that consumers are unlikely to break their existing food buying habits.

Do you consider yourself more or less likely to eat a beef taco at Taco Bell in the future based on recent events? Let us know in the comments section!

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