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Yum! Brands' Taco Bell to Serve Cage-Free Eggs by 2016

Yum! Brands, Inc.’s YUM Taco Bell recently announced that all its company owned and franchised restaurants in the U.S. will serve cage-free eggs by Dec 2016. The move comes in the wake of its promise to deliver quality food at great value.

In the coming months, the company intends to expand its policies related to food simplicity in order to meet its goal of eliminating additional preservatives and additives as far as possible by the end of 2017. Therefore, the company intends to remove artificial flavors and colors, added trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, and unsustainable palm oil from its core menu items by the beginning of 2016. Also, it intends to introduce aspartame-free diet PepsiCo, Inc. products in all of its U.S. restaurants beginning in early 2016.

However, this is not the first time that the brand is taking such steps. Over a decade, the company has made 15% sodium reduction across the menu, removed kid’s meals from the menu in U.S. stores and has introduced Cantina Power Menu for guests who prefer high-protein and under 500 calories food. Over the years, Taco Bell has also removed additives such as BHA/BHT, HVPs, MSG and Azodicarbonamide from its food. Notably, Taco Bell is the first quick service restaurant to serve American Vegetarian Association-certified menu items that allows customers to pick from millions of customizable vegetarian options.

Besides customized ordering, customers can access full ingredient statements and a nutrition calculator at Taco Bell’s new website, ta.co. Also, Taco Bell’s social channels help its fans to stay up to date on the latest Taco Bell news.

Other Restaurant Operators on the Same Path

Yum! Brands’ Taco Bell is not the only company to go the health way. Food companies are increasingly changing their priorities to focus more on “good for you” products. In fact, Panera Bread Company PNRA recently announced that it will switch to 100% cage-free eggs in the U.S. Panera Bread and St. Louis Bread Co. bakery-cafes by 2020. (Read: Panera Bread to Offer Only Cage-Free Eggs in US by 2020)

McDonald’s Corp. MCD declared in September that it will change the way it sources its eggs and use cage-free ones. The burger giant has announced that over the next decade, it will completely shift to cage-free eggs for its approximately 16,000 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada. (Read: McDonald's Puts Health First, to Use Cage-Free Eggs)

In April this year, Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc. DNKN announced, in partnership with Humane Society of the United States, that 10% of all eggs used for its breakfast sandwiches in the U.S. will be cage-free by the end of 2016. Additionally, the company declared that it will only use gestation crate-free pork in the U.S. by 2022. In fact, Dunkin’ Donuts already uses cage-free eggs for 5% of its domestic needs.

However, we would like to remind investors that Yum! Brands will become the first company to stop using eggs laid by caged hens. We expect the move to attract health conscious customers and aid comps.

Yum! Brands presently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

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