February 12, 2010

A brief history of food

Are we heading in the right direction as we RightSize America? Chainleader.com gives us a brief history of restaurants trying to do the right thing.

Calorie Counting: A Brief History

Restaurant chains have been tabulating calories and fat grams since at least the mid-'80s, with varying results. Here are some brief highlights.

2010 Applebee's launches promotion featuring five dishes with 550 or fewer calories in attempt to boost incremental traffic.

2009 The Cheesecake Factory rolls out three salads as part of its Small Plates menu. KFC advertises a 395-calorie grilled-chicken meal for $3.95. Taco Bell promotes The Drive-Thru Diet featuring seven items with fewer than 350 calories.

2007 T.G.I. Friday's introduces Right Portion, Right Price menu featuring two dishes that "contain 500 calories or less and 10 grams or less of fat per serving."

2004 Red Lobster debuts its Lighthouse Menu of items that contain fewer than 500 calories, 15 grams of fat and 750 milligrams of sodium.

2003 Applebee's International and Weight Watchers International enter into exclusive agreement that puts a Weight Watchers branded section on the chain's menu.

1997 Subway launches its Seven under Six promotion featuring sandwiches with fewer than 6 grams of fat. Jared Fogle, a college student at the time, loses 240 pounds while eating the sandwiches.

1995 Taco Bell rolls out Border Light menu, claiming the Light Bean Burrito, Light Burrito Supreme and Light Seven-Layer Burrito have "up to 20 percent fewer calories."

1992 The Olive Garden introduces its long-running Garden Fare menu. To be included, less than 30 percent of a dish's calories must come from fat.

1991 Burger King reformulates its flame-broiled chicken sandwich to meet a company goal of serving it under 300 calories. "It tastes the same," a BK spokesman claims.

1990 McDonald's debuts the McLean Deluxe, weighing in at just 310 calories with condiments.

1985 Wendy's rolls out a low-calorie menu including a scooped-out tomato half with tuna. The fast-food chain rolls menu back due to poor sales a year later.

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