Category Archives: Wendy’s

Under the Bun: Wendy’s Pulled Pork Cheeseburger … can you say overkill?

pulled-pork-cheeseburger-carls-jr-hardeesSometimes tries to imagine how fast food chains comes up with their new and “different” ideas. For instance, how did Taco Bell arrive at the Waffle Taco for their breakfast menu. It isn’t exactly a natural concept to use a waffle as you would a taco shell — and while we have to admit that it might get points for creativity, texturally we just don’t see a match there. That Waffle Taco, for us, also falls into the overkill category. Too much going on to be a hand-held breakfast. We do find that many of the new fast food introductions are just “too much” — and we think the length of the ingredient lists certainly substantiate our opinion.

Wendy’s newest introduction does appear to fall into the overkill category. The Pulled Pork Cheeseburger brings together elements that we just don’t think belong in a sandwich together. We can’t help but wonder who thought of this one. It’s sort of a reach.

Let’s go under the bun and find out what’s really in the Pulled Pork Cheeseburger. First you should know what you’ll find under that brioche bun — a stack of a cheeseburger, broccoli slaw and pulled pork. The nutrition facts here just can’t be good. Let’s take a look:

Calories                                 640
Fat                                         33 grams
Saturated Fat                       13 grams
Trans Fat                              1.5 grams
Cholesterol                           130 mg
Sodium 1                              260 mg

There’s just too much of everything going on in here and none of it’s good. The nutrition facts for this sandwich are what gives fast food a bad name.

Let’s not forget to detail the ingredient list:

Brioche Bun: Enriched Wheat Flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Water, Sugar, Yeast, Buttermilk Powder (whey solids, enzyme-modified butter, maltodextrin, salt, guar gum, annatto and turmeric [color]), Egg Yolks, Butter, Salt, Dough Conditioner (wheat flour, DATEM, contains 2% or less of: silicon dioxide [flow aid], soybean oil, enzymes [wheat], calcium sulfate, salt), Dry Malt, Calcium Propionate, Dough Conditioner (degermed yellow corn flour, turmeric and paprika [color], contains 2% or less of: natural flavor), Egg Wash (eggs, water). CONTAINS: WHEAT, EGG, MILK, 1/4 lb Hamburger Patty: Ground Beef. Seasoned with Salt, Cheddar Cheese Slice: Cultured Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto Color. CONTAINS: MILK. Broccoli Slaw: Broccoli, Carrots, Red cabbage, Broccoli Slaw Sauce (soybean oil, water, white wine vinegar, sugar, egg yolk, distilled vinegar, mustard seed, salt, white wine, onion [dehydrated], xanthan gum, spice, garlic [dehydrated], citric acid, tartaric acid. CONTAINS: EGG, Smoky BBQ Sauce: Water, Tomato Paste, Sugar, Distilled Vinegar, Brown Sugar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Modified Cornstarch, Chili Peppers, Natural Flavor Including Smoke Flavor, Caramel Color, Onion (dehydrated), Garlic (dehydrated), Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate (preservatives), Chipotle Peppers, Molasses, Spices Including Mustard Seed, Jalapeno Pepper (dehydrated), Tamarind, Soybean Oil. Pulled Pork: Pork, Water, Modified Food Starch, Salt, Sodium Phosphate.

That’s about 86 ingredients with more than a few sources of hidden MSG and six controversial ingredients. That is definitely what we consider overkill. While we know there will be an audience for the Wendy’s Pulled Pork Bacon Cheeseburger, we’ll be sitting this one out. Even before we got to the bad nutrition facts and ridiculously long ingredient list, we couldn’t figure out why we’d want to eat a cheeseburger, broccoli slaw and pulled pork piled inside the same bun. Maybe it’s just us …

Under the Bun: Wendy’s Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche

iStock_000019738970SmallWendy’s newest sandwich offering almost sounds like it shouldn’t be fast food. Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche has a rather upscale ring to it, which was probably the intent. But let’s not forget that a fast food menu item with some higher end ingredients is still a fast food menu item.

That’s certainly true here. Plus it appears to be a bit “overloaded.” went under the bun to find a lightly breaded, boneless chicken breast, topped with horseradish Dijon sauce, sliced red onions, spring-mix greens, caramelized onion sauce and smoked Gouda cheese on a toasted brioche bun. Have to wonder if you can still find the chicken with all the “fixins” they’re including here.

Let’s look a little closer, starting with the nutrition facts:

Calories:               600
Fat:                       28 g
Saturated Fat:       8 g
Cholesterol:       100 mg
Sodium:           1550 mg

We feel it’s important to mention that most fast food consumers choose chicken sandwiches because they feel, intuitively, that chicken sandwiches are a healthier choice than burgers. Their intuition would be incorrect here. Dave’s Hot ‘n Juicy quarter pound burger contains 20 less calories, 3 additional grams of fat, the same read on cholesterol and less sodium than the new Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche. Might as well have the burger.

The ingredient list for this new sandwich is huge. Take a quick look:

Bun: Enriched Wheat Flour (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Water, Sugar, Yeast, Buttermilk Powder (whey solids, enzyme-modified butter, maltodextrin, salt, guar gum, annatto and turmeric [color]), Egg Yolks, Butter, Salt, Dough Conditioner (wheat flour, DATEM, contains 2% or less of: silicon dioxide [flow aid], soybean oil, enzymes [wheat], calcium sulfate, salt), Dry Malt, Calcium Propionate, Dough Conditioner (degermed yellow corn flour, turmeric and paprika [color], contains 2% or less of: natural flavor), Egg Wash (eggs, water). CONTAINS: WHEAT, EGG, MILK. Chicken: Chicken Breast, Water, Seasoning (salt, autolyzed yeast extract, sugar, flavor, chicken, maltodextrin, gum arabic, silicon dioxide, lactic acid, sunflower oil, canola oil, dextrose, grill flavor [from canola oil], citric acid), Modified Potato Starch, Sodium Phosphates. Breaded With: Wheat Flour, Water, Salt, Modified Corn Starch, Leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate), Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Natural Flavor, Lactic Acid, Extractives of Turmeric. Cooked in Vegetable Oil (soybean oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, citric acid [preservative], dimethylpolysiloxane [anti-foaming agent]). Cooked in the same oil as menu items that contain Egg and Fish (where available). CONTAINS: WHEAT. Horseradish Dijon Spread: Soybean Oil, Water, Horseradish, Egg Yolk, Dijon Mustard (water, vinegar, mustard seed, salt, white wine, pectin, citric acid, tartaric acid, sugar, spice), Distilled Vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, Sugar, Xanthan Gum, Natural Flavor, Garlic (dehydrated), Onion (dehydrated), Corn Syrup, Molasses, Spice, Caramel Color, Oleoresin Rosemary, Tamarind. CONTAINS: EGG. Carmelized Onion Sauce: Onions, Sugar, Rice Vinegar, Caramelized Sugar, Modified Food Starch, Contains less than 2% of Caramel Color, Natural Smoke Flavor, Natural Extractives of Onion (with glycerine and other natural flavors), Salt, Xanthan Gum. Smoked Gouda Cheese: Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto Color, Natural Smoke Flavor. CONTAINS: MILK, Red Onion, Spring Mix Greens: Baby Lettuces (red & green Romaine, red & green oak, red & green leaf, lolla Rosa, tango), Spinach, Mizuna Arugula, Tatsoi, Red Chard, Green Chard.

That’s just too many ingredients for any one sandwich — and about a dozen of them are controversial.

So while the sandwich may sound like an upscale, “fancier” option, let’s not be fooled into thinking it’s actually a healthier option. Less than desirable nutrition facts and ingredients definitely place the new Smoked Gouda Chicken on Brioche on our avoid list. If you can’t contain your curiosity, you should hurry to your nearest Wendy’s, as thankfully, this one is only available for a limited time.

A look under the bun: Wendy’s Mediterranean-Inspired Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger

iStock_000018279261Small.jpgWe try to keep up with the newest fast food introductions. There always seems to be something happening somewhere in the fast food world with the major chains trying to come up with the newest trend for burger-loving consumers everywhere. (Except maybe not in the community.)

Wendy’s has been busy during the first months of the year bringing us their new “Mediterranean-inspired” Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger. According to their press release, this is no ordinary burger.

“The Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger smells and tastes like it was crafted under the Italian sun. It features Mediterranean-inspired ingredients, like tangy, creamy rosemary garlic aioli and sweet, mildly tart, roasted chopped tomatoes. The tomatoes and spring mix made from nine different greens give a burst of cool freshness against melty, naturally aged Asiago cheese and a hot quarter-pound patty of fresh, never-frozen North American beef. Applewood Smoked bacon gives the cheeseburger extra crunch, and toasted authentic ciabatta bread makes the perfect bun for these complex, rich flavors.”

Almost makes you think you can anticipate a culinary experience from a five-star restaurant, doesn’t it?

Wendy’s is hoping consumers “Gotta Ciabatta,” as it places increasing emphasis on the breads and buns featured on their menu. Artisan breads are considered a top restaurant trend for 2014 and Wendy’s is hoping to capitalize on the concept.

What’s really going on with the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger? Here’s a quick look under the bun (or in this case, under the ciabatta):

Calories:                                 670
Fat:                                          39 g
Saturated Fat:                           13 g
Trans Fat:                                1.5 g
Cholesterol:                             110 mg
Sodium:                                1260 mg

Wow. We don’t think we’ve ever actually made this statement, but it’s possible that a Big Mac is actually a healthier choice than the Wendy’s Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger. That’s a mouthful! This burger provides about 65% of your daily recommended intake of saturated fat for the entire day. And we didn’t even include a side of fries with that.

The Wendy’s Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger has too much of everything we don’t need too much of when it comes to nutrition facts. So thanks for the flowery description that attempts to compare this burger to a tremendous culinary experience. As far as we’re concerned no one’s “Gotta Ciabatta” like this!

Wendy’s Summer Treats a Healthy Option?

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As warmer weather approaches, so do new frosty treats from most fast-food restaurants. Despite a few attempts made to introduce healthier menu options, many franchises opt for sugar-filled desserts to drive in larger profits. It’s no secret that many sweet treats sold by large chains such as Burger King, McDonald’s and Wendy’s are big hits with many consumers. Today we’ll look closely at 3 new products introduced by Wendy’s earlier this summer.

Many are familiar with the Frosty, a major staple on the Wendy’s drive-thru menu. This thick chocolate combination between ice cream and a milk shake is a major money-maker, and thus drove the company to create 3 more varieties. This summer we were introduced to the Caramel Apple Frosty Parfait, the Wild Berry Frosty Parfait, and the Oreo Frosty Parfait. The word parfait is most likely to trigger “healthy” in many minds, however, these products don’t contain ingredients most would consider a parfait (i.e. yogurt). In fact, these items contain only ice cream and toppings, so technically they are just glorified sundaes.
Caramel Apple Frosty “Parfait”: For starters, this product is 400 calories. Also, there is 5g or 25% your daily value from saturated fat, which is significantly high for just a treat. The kicker, there is also 57g of sugar, which is a little over 14 teaspoons. The sugars are most likely derived from the unnecessary caramel sauce, the brown sugar, and the apples which are also listed next to a few preservatives to keep their freshness. If you have trouble controlling blood glucose levels, or have GI sensitivities to massive amounts of sugar, you may want to think twice before ordering this item. There are about 25 ingredients in this frosty parfait, none of which contain yogurt, or any produce any type of benefits. We do know there are a few controversial ingredients, including high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, natural flavors, and carrageenan (a hidden form of MSG.)
Wild Berry Frosty Parfait: The calorie content is slightly lower than the Caramel Apple option, with about 320kcal. The saturated fat is about 23% the daily value, and provides 30mg of cholesterol. Although lower than the Caramel Apple variety, this frosty parfait is equipped with a high 48 grams of sugar. The blueberries and strawberries covered with preservatives, along with carrageenan and artificial flavors cancel out any thoughts of this item being a sensible snack.
Oreo Frosty Parfait: Finally, the Oreo Frosty Parfait, which is already doomed to be the least healthiest choice. This menu option contains 400 calories, 30% the daily value for saturated fat, 220mg of sodium, 56 grams of sugar, and approximately 50 ingredients. Chocolate syrup, Oreo chunks, artificial vanilla flavor, two sources of added high fructose corn syrup, and carrageenan make up what many believe to be a ‘healthy’ after dinner snack. However, anyone who is able to successfully finish this parfait is most likely to crash after the amount of sugar and controversial ingredients they’ve consumed.

Carefully read labels and menu options before you grab your next frosty treat!