Like it or not, the paleo diet fad has now gone mainstream.
This week, Taco Bell announced that it will be beefing up its menu - quite literally - by launching a new menu centered around meat and protein. The new menu, which, as the Mexican fast food chain explained in a statement, is "the next evolution of its Cantina Bell menu," will be called the Cantina Power Menu, and will feature food items with double portions of meat and more than 20 grams of protein. Essentially, it's Taco Bell's bet that Americans are increasingly interested in protein content, and decreasingly interested in so-called diet foods.
"We heard customers requesting a higher protein solution with the flavors Cantina delivers, so here is Cantina Power," company president Brian Niccol said in a statement. "People are not looking for diet food. They want food that gives them energy," he said.
Taco Bell launched its original Cantina menu back in 2012 to appease consumers looking for brighter and fresher ingredients. The menu initially included items with ingredients like fresh guacamole and fire roasted corn salsa, and was promoted with artfully shot ads sporting the aesthetic of Food Network cooking shows.
But it appears that Taco Bell has either come to the conclusion that its customers go elsewhere for that sort of fare, or simply learned that America's love for protein-packed foods trumps all else.
Most likely, it's the latter.
Taco Bell isn't getting rid of the "fresh" ingredients - it's merely topping them with more meat and using that as the prevailing marketing pitch.
Taco Bell 's bet comes at a particularly promising moment for protein. Demand for protein-rich foods is growing quickly around the globe, but especially fast in the U.S.. Protein supplement sales, for instance, have grown by more than 40 percent since 2008, and are expected to grow by another 40-plus percent by 2018, according to estimates by market research firm Euromonitor.
And interest in foods with higher protein content is especially pronounced among America's youth, which just so happens to be Taco Bell's prime audience.
Taco Bell isn't the first fast food company to double down on America's growing muscle obsession. Other chains, including Panera Bread Co., which sports its own power menu, have made similar bets. And large food manufacturers, like Kraft, have tried their hand at the trend, too. Kraft, for its part, began selling a product called P3, which combines nuts, meat and cheese, earlier this year.
But Taco Bell does seem pretty serious about it. So serious, that it isn't stopping at extra meat and added protein - it's even extended its menu to include Greek yogurt. "There are lots of yogurt parfaits out there, so we asked ourselves what would get people excited about yogurt at Taco Bell, and the answer is Greek yogurt," Niccol said.
Like it or not, the paleo diet fad has now gone mainstream.
Downtown Master Plan accepted by council
The 2014 Downtown Master Plan Study was accepted by a 3-0 vote Tuesday evening by the Edmond City Council.
Fort Worth-based consulting group Freese and Nichols presented their final update to the 1998 Downtown Master Plan. The city hired the group at a cost of $300,000 to make recommendations for future development of Broadway in the central business district.
“There are clearly some short-term (parking) options that we feel should move forward,” said Cody Richardson, of Freese and Nichols consultants of Fort Worth. “Better signage at existing parking lots.”
Lambrecht Construction to build office
The commercial site plan of a physician’s office was approved recently by the Edmond Planning Commission by a vote of 4-0.
Lambrecht Construction plans to build the office at 3917 E. Covell Road in the Fairfax Business Office, north of Covell and west of Sooner Road, said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner.
City to improve traffic flow
The Edmond City Council this week approved a services agreement with Electronic Technology, Inc. For the installation of Intelligent Transportation Systems’ video wall system at a cost of $314,620. The vote was 3-0.
ITS is a fiber optic, wireless or hybrid communication system of monitoring road events and equipment in the field, data archiving and predicting traffic volume, said Kent Kacir, an engineer with Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc.
Oklahoma sales tax takes a holiday
Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 1 and ending at midnight Aug. 3, Oklahomans will be able to participate in a sales tax holiday giving shoppers the opportunity to purchase certain clothing and shoes free of sales tax.
Yes, retailers may not charge tax, including state and local sales taxes on items that are tax-exempt during the sales tax holiday weekend. The sales of clothing and shoes priced at less than $100 are exempted from sales taxes.
Peace through Business empowering women entrepreneurs
Peace Through Business is part of the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW) based in Oklahoma City. It is a program that connects small business entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda with business owners in Oklahoma. One such entrepreneur found out about the program from a friend, applied, and was accepted to take part in this year’s session.
Upon earning a master’s degree in Civil Engineering from the Universite de Sciences et Technique de Lille in Belgium, Lyliose Nduhungirehe began her career working for a construction company in Brussels, but she quickly switched paths to Information Technology.
Anderson Properties continues to grow
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties recently announced the acquisition of Tulsa-based Prudential Alliance Realty, an eight-office, 150-agent brokerage operating in Tulsa and Oklahoma City and Edmond.
The transaction gives Anderson Properties, a full-service real estate agency a total of 38 offices and more than 600 agents.
Logan County pays off jail tax early, seeks new one
Logan County is paying off a sales tax ahead of schedule and needs a new one to be able to afford funding jail operation and maintenance, officials said.
Citizens vote on the county sales tax which is split for redistribution by state law. The tax is collected by the Oklahoma Tax Commission and redistributed back to the county as specified by voters.
In 2005, citizens passed a 10-year sales tax, scheduled to end next month, to fund the building, operation and maintenance of the county jail, which operates on a $1.3 million budget. Jail capacity is 188 without anyone in a holding cell or a temporary bunk. Thursday it was holding 130 inmates, said Logan County Chief Deputy Richard Stephens.
Edmond School District’s change orders anticipated
When building new schools and classrooms there may be additional costs, but when renovating older buildings those costs can more than double, according to a Edmond School District official.
“When remodeling, you have unknown and hidden costs and you need to include in your budgeted funds for the built-in items you can not see,” said Bret Towne, Edmond’s associate superintendent of general administration.
Planning Commission approves rezoning
The Edmond Planning Commission this week voted 4-0 in favor of rezoning from a single family district. Peter and Kimberly Roberts made the request to allow a planned unit development on the southeast corner of Jackson and Lincoln Avenue, said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner.
“They would like to have D-2 family (neighborhood commercial) zoning for duplexes, 14,000 square feet,” Schiermeyer said. “They can put four units on the property.”
A Q&A on ‘Obamacare’ Court Rulings
On Tuesday, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on the legality of tax subsidies being provided to people who bought “Obamacare” health insurance policies in Oklahoma and 35 other states.
Here’s a look at the rulings’ potential impact in Oklahoma.
Q: I’m confused. What did the courts rule today?
A: A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Washington, D.C., decided that the government can’t provide tax subsidies for Affordable Care Act plans purchased in 36 states where the federal government is operating the health insurance exchange. Oklahoma is one of the 36 states. A few hours later, the U.S. Court of Appeals circuit in Richmond, Va., issued a conflicting ruling that upheld the legality of the health-care law’s tax subsidies.
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