Category Archives: Junk Food

Because a Whopper just wasn’t enough …

4CheeseWhopper-DetailBurger King has introduced the Four Cheese Whopper. For anyone who’s wondering about this new extra cheesy Whopper, what we can tell you right now is that it doesn’t actually contain four cheeses. Instead, consumers will find a three cheese blend, American Cheese and cheddar sauce between the bun.

So if the term “four cheese” conjures up images of asiago, havarti, white cheddar and fontina in your mind, this sandwich will certainly fall short of your expectations. FoodFacts.com finds the terms three cheese blend and cheddar sauce highly suspect. But without the presence of an ingredient list, can you blame us?

What we do have right now are the nutrition facts. And here they are, in all their not-so-glorious detail:

Calories:                     850
Fat:                             57 grams
Saturated Fat:           21 grams
Cholesterol:              115 mg
Sodium:                    1160 mg

How does the Four Cheese Whopper stack up against a regular Whopper with Cheese?

We’re sure you’ve assumed that it’s worse. And you’re right — it is. 120 additional calories, 13 more grams of fat and 30 additional mg of cholesterol. It does contain slightly less sodium than the Whopper with Cheese.

While we don’t have access to the ingredients, we can tell you that the ingredients in the Whopper with Cheese certainly leave a lot to be desired. It features 120 ingredients and only one type of cheese. Ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, sorbitol, sodium benzoate and propylene glycol are featured in the ingredient list. And there’s artificial color in the cheese. So we’re assuming that the ingredient list for the Four Cheese Whopper (essentially a Whopper with extra cheese) will feature a similar ingredient list. And that three cheese blend and that cheddar sauce — we’re fairly certain that those will contain controversial ingredients as well.

In short, we didn’t like the Whopper with Cheese. Now we can multiply that by four.

http://www.bk.com/menu-item/four-cheese-whopper

Welcome back the Yumbo!

BK_Yumbo_detailMost of you are probably thinking to yourself, “Welcome back the what????”

In order to answer your question, we’ll have to go back to Burger King in 1968. That was the year that the Yumbo was first introduced. The sandwich was very popular and enjoyed a six-year run before it was retired in 1974.

While FoodFacts.com isn’t quite sure where it’s unusual name came from, we are sure that the Yumbo isn’t typical Burger King fare. It’s simply a hot ham and cheese hoagie with lettuce and mayonnaise. Which, according to various internet commentary, has some fast food fans puzzled. It’s not a burger. It’s not a chicken sandwich. So what’s it doing on the Burger King menu?

Well, according to Burger King, people have been asking what happened to the sandwich. Seems it’s a favorite childhood memory for many customers. And Burger King is making an effort to bring back some those memories.

Burger King made an all out effort to do just that with the Yumbo. It overhauled its Facebook page and made it appear as though the posts were from 1974. It even invited visitors to call the Yumbo at 844-BK-YUMBO. That toll-free line connected callers to the “Yumbo Social Hotline,” and asked callers to like or comment on the sandwich on its page.

It doesn’t appear that folks who don’t remember the Yumbo are embracing it quite as enthusiastically as those who fell in love with it 40 years ago. Comments include the sentiment that the Yumbo took very little effort for Burger King and that you really need to be in the third grade to think that this is anything special.

O.k. it isn’t a Whopper. But it is certainly a simpler menu offering for Burger King which may be refreshing for some. While we don’t have an ingredient list for the sandwich, here are the nutrition facts:
Calories:               490
Fat:                       24 grams
Cholesterol:         65 mg
Sodium:               1770 mg

So what should we make of this? Let’s put it this way — it really might as well be a burger. As a matter of fact, the Yumbo is pretty much the equivalent as the Burger King Double Cheeseburger. It has 40 more calories and about the same amount of fat. The Yumbo has less cholesterol. But it also contains A LOT more sodium.

Maybe it’s just us, but we don’t expect a hot ham and cheese sandwich to carry the same nutrition facts as a fast food burger. Guess we should have remembered that the Yumbo is a fast food hot ham and cheese sandwich and this shouldn’t have been surprising.

Those of us of a certain age should probably just enjoy our Yumbo memories and not try to make new ones.

http://www.bk.com/menu-item/yumbo-hot-ham-cheese-sandwich

Panera Bread brings back the Steak & White Cheddar Panini

panera_horiz_logoWe know that Panera Bread has plenty of fans. There’s plenty of variety on the menu. The food is tasty. And people feel as though a meal from Panera is a better choice than a meal from McDonalds. The chain carries its own “health halo” — the food is fresher, it tastes like actual food and so Panera has been deemed a better option than average fast food.

In some ways fans are right — Panera Bread isn’t McDonald’s. But to be honest, it’s not that far away from it. And the reintroduction of the Steak & White Cheddar Panini proves the point.

Let’s take a look at the sandwich and find out what’s really going on in there.

The nutrition facts apply to a whole sandwich. Remember that at Panera, you can order a half sandwich as part of a combo with pasta, salad or soup. If you simply order the sandwich, though, it will come full size. Let’s get to those facts:

Calories:                     960
Fat:                             36 grams
Sodium:                     1860 mg.

Wow. That’s just too much of everything! After eating this sandwich, you’ve only got another 540 mg to consume for the rest of the day. And you’ll be spending 960 calories out of your average 2000 calorie a day diet on one sandwich.

Here are the ingredients:

French baguette (unbleached enriched wheat flour [flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], water, salt, natural base [calcium diphosphate, malted barley flour, dextrose, distilled monoglycerides, rye flour, sunflower lecithin, wheat flour, enzymes, ascorbic acid], yeast [yeast, sorbitan monostearate, ascorbic acid]), beef sirloin tip (beef sirloin, seasoning [spice, dehydrated garlic, sea salt, canola oil]), white cheddar cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, microbial enzymes), caramelized red onions (red onions, balsamic vinaigrette [water, soybean oil, sugar, balsamic vinegar, distilled vinegar, contains less than 2% of salt, spices, xanthan gum, dehydrated garlic, natural flavors]), horseradish sauce (soybean oil, water, prepared horseradish [horseradish, vinegar, salt], egg yolks, distilled vinegar, corn starch- modified, salt, sugar, xanthan gum, natural flavors including mustard oil).

So it’s not McDonald’s. The ingredient list is a far cry from the Big Mac. But there are still far too many items in the list — and we’re not fans of natural flavor. Especially when all those ingredients cost 960 calories and come with three quarters of our daily sodium.

We can think of better lunch options. And while we understand that many find Panera Bread to be a solution to the fast food dilemma, FoodFacts.com just can’t get on board.

https://www.panerabread.com/en-us/menu-categories/sandwiches-panini.html#steak-white-cheddar-panini

High-fructose diet in adolescence may be linked to depression later in life

urlDepression and anxiety have become common conditions these days. Millions of highly functional, accomplished people are taking antidepressants to combat the effects of these issues as they battle depressive behaviors every day. We do know that nutrition can play a role in depression. Studies have been conducted that have linked junk food consumption to behavioral health difficulties. New information, however, is pointing to a specific culprit consumed during a specific time period and showing a definite link to the development of depression.

The consumption of a diet high in fructose throughout adolescence can worsen depressive- and anxiety-like behavior and alter how the brain responds to stress, according to new animal research scheduled for presentation at Neuroscience 2014, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.

“Our results offer new insights into the ways in which diet can alter brain health and may lead to important implications for adolescent nutrition and development,” said lead author Constance Harrell of Emory University in Atlanta.

Harrell is a graduate student working with Gretchen Neigh, PhD, assistant professor of physiology, psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine.

Fructose, a sugar found naturally in fruits and vegetables but also added to many processed foods and beverages, can promote negative cardiovascular effects. It also stimulates neural pathways that affect how the brain responds to stress, which can have important behavioral effects, including the worsening of symptoms related to depression and anxiety. Such effects are of particular concern during the teen years, which is a critical time for the development of the brain’s stress response.

To determine whether fructose consumption has the potential to create long-term changes in metabolism and behavior during adolescence, Harrell and her colleagues gave both adolescent and adult rats either a standard or a high-fructose diet. After 10 weeks, the adolescent but not adult rats on the high-fructose diet had a different stress hormone response to an acute stressor, which was consistent with their depressed-like behavior. A genetic pathway in the brain that plays a key role in regulating the way the brain responds to stress was also altered.

These findings indicate that consuming a diet high in fructose throughout adolescence may exacerbate depressive behaviors and affect the way the body and the brain respond to stress.

FoodFacts.com is always concerned about nutritional awareness in our teenagers. Unlike younger children, teens spend more time away from our homes and our kitchens. They are more likely to consume junk food containing high-fructose corn syrup on a regular basis. Healthy eating habits begin early. And while we’re not going to prevent teenagers from eating bad food when they’re away from us, the habits we instill early on will influence the choices they make as they get older. Depression is debilitating. We owe it to the coming generations to help them avoid behavioral conditions as much as we can. It’s important to remember that sugar-addicted children become sugar-addicted teens. We need to exercise control over our children’s dietary habits while we can. There’s no room for sugary beverages and processed foods in the diets of small children if we want them to grow into teens who make healthier food choices away from home.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141118141852.htm

Baskin Robbins ode to the military … Camouflage Ice Cream

Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 12.02.01 PMUpon hearing about some new food products or flavors, FoodFacts.com often asks ourselves “Did anyone really need that?”

Honestly, that was our question when we heard that last month Baskin-Robbins introduced its new Camouflage Ice Cream. While its a lovely concept that Baskin-Robbins wanted to honor veterans and our military, we’re not quite sure that anyone was ever thinking about consuming ice cream that looks like camo. Overall, the reviews we’ve read were positive … once people got past the unusual appearance. But that unusual appearance (dark brown, light brown and khaki green) peaked our interest.

We thought we’d take a closer look.

On the Baskin-Robbins website, you’ll find this description for the new flavor: “Chocolate, Salty Caramel, and Cake flavored ice creams team up to make a flavor so delicious, you’ll never see it coming.” Admittedly, the flavor combination sounds interesting. But let’s find out what’s really going on inside those scoops.

In every 4 ou. serving you’ll find:

Calories:                     240
Fat:                             14 grams
Saturated Fat:           9 grams
Sugar:                       19 grams

It’s ice cream and no one expects ice cream to carry stellar nutrition facts. Ice cream is all about ingredients. And here are the ingredients for Baskin-Robbins camouflage ice cream:

Cream, Nonfat Milk, Sugar, Corn Syrup, Vanilla Cream Flavor Base [Sugar, Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Titanium Dioxide (Color), Salt, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative)], Whey Powder, Salt Caramel Base [Corn Syrup, Butter (Cream, Salt), Water, Sugar, Sweetened Condensed Skim Milk (Condensed Skim Milk, Sugar), Natural Flavors, Caramel Color, Annatto (Color), Salt, Carrageenan, Sulfites], Chocolate Liquor and Cocoa processed with alkali, Stabilizer/Emulsifier Blend (Cellulose Gum, Mono and Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Polysorbate 80), Caramel Color, Red 40, Yellow 5 , Blue 1, Yellow 6, Natural Flavors (Contains Barley).

Like we said, ice cream is all about the ingredients. First of all we now understand how that interesting camo pattern was achieved. There are far too many colorful ingredients in this list. In addition, 15 of the 38 ingredients are controversial. Too many ingredients to begin with and too many controversial ingredients on top of that.

The question remains. Did anyone really need this? Our answer is absolutely not. We never wanted to eat camo. And we certainly don’t want to eat camo made from these ingredients.

https://www.baskinrobbins.com/content/baskinrobbins/en/products/icecream/flavors.html

McDonald’s answers some questions about the McRib

HT_mcrib_beauty_jtm_141104_16x9_992Possibly the most iconic of any of the McDonald’s menu items, the McRib might just have more fans than the Big Mac. Part of its appeal comes from its limited time availability releases. Since fast food lovers can’t always have a McRib, its allure is heightened. For FoodFacts.com the McRib is not an alluring sandwich. It’s nutrition facts and ingredient list tell us to stay far away from it.

McDonald’s recently launched a new campaign called “Our Food, Your Questions” in an effort to offer consumers more transparency into exactly what’s in their menu items.

The latest dish it tackles is the popular McRib, which only makes limited-time appearances, causing fervor among its devotees. Here’s a step-by-step look at how the beloved barbecue sandwich is made.

Step 1: It begins with boneless pork shoulder.
“We have a boneless pork picnic, which is the main ingredient in the McDonald’s McRib patty,” Kevin Nanke says. “This is what we purchase and bring in to the facility to make the McRib.”

Nanke is the vice president of Lopez Foods in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, which is McDonald’s USA pork supplier. All the bones and gristle from the pork shoulder are removed to prepare for grinding.

Step 2: The meat is ground and flavoring and preservatives are added.
During grinding, water, salt, dextrose and preservatives are added to the meat.
The dextrose is a type of sugar used to add sweetness, and the preservatives (BHA, propyl gallate and citric acid) help maintain the flavor, according to McDonald’s.

Step 3: The McRib shape is formed.
In the factory, the ground meat is pressed into the iconic McRib shape, meant to resemble meat and bones — except this is all meat, and the bone shape is pork as well.

Step 4: Water is sprayed on to prepare for freezing.
A fine mist of water is added to the formed McRib to prevent dehydration during freezing.

Step 5: The McRib is frozen.
The factory flash-freezes the McRib to prepare for shipment.

Step 6: The McRib is cooked.
When the McRib is at the restaurant and ready to be prepared, it’s cooked in a Panini press-type machine.

Step 7: The McRib patty is done when both sides are seared to a golden brown.
Food safety, quality and regulatory technicians at Lopez Foods regularly make test batches for quality assurance.

Step 8: After it’s seared, the cooked McRib marinates in barbecue sauce.
The barbecue sauce has a lot of ingredients. According to McDonald’s, here they are and why:

For flavor and texture: Tomato paste, onion powder, garlic powder, chili pepper, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, natural smoke flavor (plant source), salt, sugar and spices

For flavor and as a preservative: Distilled vinegar

For thickness, body and sheen: Water, xantham gum, soybean oil, modified food starch

For color: Caramel color, beet powder

As a preservative: Sodium benzoate

Step 9: The sandwich is assembled.
First, the hoagie-style roll is toasted and layered with onions and pickles before the McRib is placed on.

McDonald’s has been criticized for using azodicarbonamide in their rolls because the same ingredient is used in non-food products, such as yoga mats. Here’s the official explanation:
“The ingredient you refer to is azodicarbonamide (ADA) and it’s sometimes used by bakers to help keep the texture of their bread consistent from batch to batch, which is why it is used in the McRib hoagie-style roll.”

“There are multiple uses for azodicarbonamide, including in some non-food products, such as yoga mats. As a result, some people have suggested our food contains rubber or plastic, or that the ingredient is unsafe. It’s simply not the case. Think of salt: the salt you use in your food at home is a variation of the salt you may use to de-ice your sidewalk. The same is true of ADA — it can be used in different ways.”

The rest of the ingredients in the roll are:

Main ingredients: Enriched bleached flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), water

For caramelization when toasting: High fructose corn syrup

For volume and texture: Yeast, wheat gluten, enzymes, sodium stearoyl lactylate, DATEM, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono and diglycerides, calcium peroxide

For tenderness: Soybean oil

For flavor: Salt, barley and malt syrup, corn meal

For leavening: Calcium sulfate, ammonium sulfate, monocalcium phosphate

As a preservative: Calcium proponiate

As for the other ingredients, the onions are just onions, and the pickles have multiple ingredients, all below:

Main ingredients: Cucumbers, water, distilled vinegar

For flavor: Salt, natural flavors (plant source), polysorbate 80 (emulsifier: helps ensure that the spice blend disperses within the brine), extracts of turmeric (for color and flavor)

To maintain crisp texture: Calcium chloride, alum

As a preservative: Potassium sorbate

So McDonald’s is being upfront about the ingredients used in the McRib. And while we think it’s impressive that they’re coming forward with them, we’re honestly offended at their attempt to gloss over the use of azodicarbonamide, as well as how they’re attempting to explain away other controversial ingredients like polysorbate 80, natural flavors, caramel color and high fructose corn syrup. Intelligent consumers aren’t going to accept the idea that McDonald’s needs to use polysorbate 80 to ensure that the spice blend (or natural flavors) disperses within the pickle brine.

Instead of providing transparency, it may appear to some that McDonald’s is actually attempting to make light of the controversial ingredients consistently included in their menu items. Maybe if they tell us they are necessary, we’ll ignore them.

http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/mcrib-made/story?id=26683944

Dunkin introduces the Croissant Donut

dunkinYou might remember back in 2013 the Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City debuted its now famous Cronut — a unique hybrid of a croissant and a donut. To say that it took off would be an understatement. While no one has the recipe from the commercial bakery, Dominique Ansel did work out a version of his recipe for home bakers. It’s quite complicated — taking three days from start to finish. In addition, it’s REALLY unhealthy. And honestly, it should be. It’s a cross between a croissant and a donut — each of which is an unhealthy choice all by itself. Put them together in that recipe and you end up with 26 tablespoons of butter and oil as needed for deep frying. Pretty astonishing.

So when Dunkin Donuts introduces a Croissant Donut, we would assume pretty quickly that their version of this dual-action baked good is going to outdo the unhealthiest of their regular donuts. While the Croissant Donut doesn’t present the ideal nutrition facts or ingredient list, we’re pleased to tell you that it’s fairly equal to the rest of the donuts on the Dunkin menu. Let’s take a look:

Calories:                     300
Fat:                             14 grams
Saturated Fat:           8 grams
Sugar:                        12 grams

How does that stack up against the Glazed Plain Cake Donut?

It’s actually a little better. The Croissant Donut has 60 less calories, 8 fewer grams of fat, 2 fewer grams of saturated fat and 7 less grams of sugar. We’re not really sure how that’s possible if the donut is going to be flaky and buttery like a croissant. But those are the nutrition facts for the new donut.

Here are the ingredients:

Croissant Donut: Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Ascorbic Acid, Folic Acid, Enzymes), Water, Unsalted Butter, Sugar, Palm Oil, Yeast, Whey Powder (Milk), Salt, Wheat Gluten; Glaze: Sugar, Water, Maltodextrin, Contains 2% or less of: Propylene Glycol, Mono and Diglycerides (Emulsifier), Cellulose Gum, Agar, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate (Preservative), Vanillin (an Artificial Flavor). May contain traces of Eggs, Soy, and Tree Nuts (Pecans, Hazelnuts).

There are controversial ingredients in the Croissant Donut, but surprisingly there are fewer of them in this new offering than there are in that Glazed Plain Cake Donut.

Does FoodFacts.com think that the Croissant Donut is a healthy choice? No, we don’t. But we do have to admit that on the Dunkin Donuts menu, this is actually among the better options. We do have to point out, though, that both the nutrition facts and ingredient list do not point to buttery, flaky, fried pastry. We have to think that the original Cronut will safely hold on to its throne as the king of unhealthy hybrid fried pastry.

http://www.dunkindonuts.com/content/dunkindonuts/en/menu/food/bakery/donuts/donuts.html?DRP_FLAVOR=Croissant+Donut

Good news: Americans are eating less trans fat. The bad news is it’s still too much.

trans fat1Trans fats — the fats that pack a double whammy by lowering good cholesterol and raising the bad — has been under scrutiny for quite a while. We’re still waiting to hear news on the FDA’s proposed ban of trans fats from our food supply. That would mean the end of the use of partially hydrogenated oils in processed foods and that would, indeed, be a welcome improvement for all of us! We are, however, getting better at avoiding trans fats before any kind of ban.

There appears to be a downward trend in the amount of trans fats being consumed by Americans, according to a new study. Unfortunately, the level of consumption is still higher than is recommended by the American Heart Association.

Researchers reviewed the findings of a series of six surveys carried out as part of the Minnesota Heart Survey, from 1980-2009. The surveys included data from over 12,000 adults aged 25-74 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
Intake of both trans fat and saturated fats fell during this period but was still some distance away from the levels recommended as healthy by the American Heart Association (AHA).

“There’s a downward trend in trans and saturated fat intake levels, but it’s clear that we still have room for improvement,” says Mary Ann Honors, lead author of the study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Trans fats raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol levels in the body and lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good”) cholesterol. They have been found to increase the risk of coronary heart disease – the number one cause of death in the US – along with stroke and type 2 diabetes.

The main source of trans fats in American food is in partially hydrogenated oils, created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oils in order to make them more solid. These trans fats are referred to as artificial trans fats.

Partially hydrogenated oils are utilized as an inexpensive way to extend the shelf life of food and improve texture and flavor stability.

Fried, processed and commercially baked goods are the main sources of artificial trans fats. Cookies, doughnuts, pastries, pies, pizzas and sticks of margarine are all regularly made using partially hydrogenated oils.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) state that there is no safe level of artificial trans fats consumption and so consumption should be kept as low as possible. The AHA recommend limiting trans fats to no more than 1% of total calories consumed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), avoiding artificial trans fats completely could prevent up to 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 coronary heart disease deaths in the US every year.

The researchers found that trans fat intake had decreased by around 32% in men and 35% in women over the course of the study. However, men and women still consumed 1.9% and 1.7% of their daily calories, respectively, from trans fats – significantly higher than the AHA’s recommended level.
Similarly, the intake of saturated fats dropped but levels were still much higher than what the AHA consider to be healthy. Men and women took 11.4% of their daily calories from saturated fats, whereas it is recommended that saturated fat consumption should be limited to just 5-6%.

Intake of omega-3 fatty acids was also measured and found to have not changed significantly over the last 3 decades. Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, yet the researchers found that the current level of intake is relatively low.

“To make your diet more in line with the recommendations,” says Honors, “use the nutrition panel on food labels to choose foods with little or no trans fats.” Caution is needed; the AHA advise that products can be listed as containing 0 grams of trans fats if they contain 0-0.5 g of trans fats per serving. Look out for partially hydrogenated oils in lists of ingredients.

Although the study participants were predominantly white men and women living in a small area of the country, the authors write that similarities between their study and levels of intake reported in national data suggest their findings may generalize well to the US population.

The authors state that future research is needed in order to determine public health strategies to reduce further the levels of trans and saturated fat intake. In the meantime, the CDC suggest that eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein and low-fat or fat-free dairy products is the best way to avoid trans fat.

FoodFacts.com hopes that everyone understands that the consumption of trans fats is based on the consumption of processed foods. Fast food, packaged foods, boxed foods — avoiding these equates with avoiding trans fats. When you prepare fresh foods at home in your own kitchen, you’re not using partially hydrogenated oils in your recipes. The enormous increases in heart disease in the population have occurred simultaneously with the unprecedented increase of processed foods in our food supply. That’s not coincidental. Until some sort of regulation is put in place restricting trans fats (and probably even after), get cooking and stay healthy!

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284246.php

Taco Bell making fast food faster … sort of

141028101756-taco-bell-app-620xaThese days there really is an app for everything. There are mobile coupon apps from major supermarkets, apps from manufacturers offering deals and discounts, apps for travelers looking for deals at their intended locations. The lists are endless. So it isn’t any surprise that fast food chains are introducing their own apps. Up until now, though, we haven’t been able to order from fast food restaurants directly from our smartphones. That’s all changing.

Taco Bell is the latest company to jump into the app craze.

Taco Bell has unveiled a new app that allows customers anywhere in the country to place their orders using their iPhones and Androids. They still have to go the restaurant to pick up their Doritos Locos in person, though.

“You get to skip the line,” said Jeff Jenkins, director of mobile experience at Taco Bell, which is owned by Yum! Brands.

But he said there’s no feature to select a pickup time because the food won’t be prepared until the customer arrives.

So what’s the point of using the app? Jenkins said both restaurant and customer will both get a heads up from the app once you get close to the Taco Bell.

“When you get within 500 feet of the location, you get a notification on your phone that says, ‘Looks like you’ve arrived. Would you like us to start preparing your food?’” he said.

Taco Bell is also promoting the fact that app-ordering customers can customize their orders, by adding or omitting ingredients.

Taco Bell’s move comes close in the heels of Starbucks , which announced its app earlier this month. The Starbucks app, which will debut in Portland later this year and go nationwide in 2015, allows customers to place their coffee orders via iPhone.

Other fast food companies have apps, though they don’t necessarily allow customers to place orders via smartphone. McDonald’s has the McD App, which is primarily for learning about special offers and locating restaurants.

Wendy’s has an app that allows customers to pay for meals via smartphone, but they have to go to the restaurant to do it. Customers deposit money into their phone’s Wendy’s account for that purpose. The maximum balance is $100, which buys about 20 Baconators, depending on the location.

FoodFacts.com is pretty sure that ordering fast food via app will mature and grow into the whole experience — place your order by smartphone, pay for it by smartphone, go to the nearest location and pick up your order seamlessly. We’re not there yet. Taco Bell’s new app might save fast food consumers a little time — but it probably won’t be much. We’ll just have to wait a little while longer for the fast food industry to help their customers consume bad food in record time!

http://money.cnn.com/2014/10/28/news/companies/taco-bell-app/

Tricks or treats? Cadbury Screme Eggs

k2-_6fca6af3-0248-4357-9727-1627154e8c40.v1Everyone’s ready. The costumes are all set. The candy’s been purchased. And children everywhere just can’t wait to start trick or treating!

Happy Halloween everyone!

What treats are you giving out this year?

FoodFacts.com understands that we’re talking about candy, and we know there isn’t going to be a healthy Halloween haul for anyone’s child! So instead of reprising the age-old debate of a candyless Halloween or a candyful Halloween, we thought that we’d focus our post on a ghoulish, odd treat … the Cadbury Screme Egg.

It’s ghoulish because it’s filled with green creme. It’s odd because, well, it’s an egg. We wouldn’t think it was odd if the candy were shaped like a pumpkin or a spider or a mummy or something that actually represented Halloween. An egg just doesn’t do that for us. Halloween on the inside, Easter on the outside?

Let’s make the Cadbury Screme Egg an example of the many different candies we will find in our kids’ Halloween sacks at the end of the night and take a look at the very typical nutrition facts and ingredients in this strange treat.

Calories:            150
Fat:                     6 grams
Sugar:                20 grams

That’s five teaspoons of sugar in one egg. We certainly didn’t expect anything different — it’s candy. If your child really likes them, they’ll probably eat more than one and that sugar adds up quickly.

What do the ingredients look like?

Milk Chocolate ( Sugar, Milk, Cocoa Butter, Chocolate, Milk Fat, Soy Lecithin, Natural And Artificial Flavor), Sugar, Corn Syrup, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Contains 2% Or Less of: Egg Whites, Calcium Chloride, Artificial Flavor, Artificial Color, (Yellow 5, Blue 1, Yellow 6).

Needless to say, we really don’t like this – even for candy. We can plainly see where that green color is coming from and we’re not really happy about it. Besides giving our kids a sugar rush, these little eggs can contribute to hyperactive behavior — especially if consumed in quantity. Most candy isn’t this colorful. But we’d be hard pressed to find a candy with an ingredient list we’d find desirable.

In general, every overflowing sack of Halloween candy is overloaded with controversial ingredients and a ridiculous amount of sugar. The good news is that it’s improbable that all that candy will be eaten in one night — or even one weekend. Many parents have a habit of making most of that candy disappear after a few days. Different families handle the issue in different ways.

FoodFacts.com just wanted to point out the obvious. We know it’s only one day a year. We don’t want to see a lot of disappointed little faces on a fun and happy occasion. We just don’t want anyone of forget what really going on in that sack!