Taco Bell Controversy Update – Taco Bell President Makes Possibly Deceptive Statement

by Nindo Mom on January 30, 2011

This post is a follow-up to my previous post on the Taco Bell controversy.

If you take a look at the photo of a Taco Bell Taco Meat Filling packaging posted on Gizmodo.com, you’ll notice that the product in question is called Taco Meat Filling. And the ingredients listed right there on the bag clearly contain numerous fillers and ingredients. It’s the ingredients in this Taco Meat Filling that spawned the class action lawsuit, I believe, brought against Taco Bell

Now, consider the retaliatory statement by Taco Bell President Greg Creed: He says ” . . . Our seasoned beef recipe contains 88% quality USDA-inspected beef and 12% seasonings, spices, water and other ingredients that provide taste, texture and moisture.”

Now, take note: the incriminating photo on Gizmodo.com identifies the ingredients of Taco Bell Taco Meat FillingNOT the “seasoned beef” recipe that the Taco Bell president continuously refers to in his statement.

The ingredients shown in the photo DO INCLUDE beef as the first ingredient–is this the “seasoned beef” Creed is talking about? If so, his statement about the higher percentage of beef ONLY APPLIES TO THE FIRST INGREDIENT in the Taco Bell Taco Meat Filling.

Simply, the “seasoned beef” discussed by Creed may not be the same as the Taco Bell Taco Meat Filling.

The Quandary Taco Bell May Be In

If the Taco Meat Filling in Taco Bell’s tacos is as low as prosecuting attorneys claim and they are forced to change their recipe, the restaurant could have a couple of very big problems:

1. Taco Bell’s food costs would skyrocket for their tacos (and other items using the meat filling) because the levels of oat products allegedly contained in the current Taco Meat Filling are much cheaper than real beef. And Taco Bell would likely pass along these increased food costs to consumers in the form of higher product prices.

2. Customers may not LIKE a new Taco Meat Filling. Taco Bell has been using their Meat Filling recipe for…well, who knows how long? Long enough for people to get used to it, and like it. A drastic recipe change might well end up being disliked by customers, causing Taco Bell’s sales to plummet. Which could be the end of Taco Bell.

What’s the Answer?

The class action lawsuit was not started to get anyone rich: according to Gizmodo’s article, the lawsuit was brought forth to force Taco Bell to reveal the truth behind their ingredients. So that consumers will know, to the greatest extent possible, what they are buying when they opt to have Taco Bell for lunch–and what they are eating.

If the Taco Bell Taco Meat Filling is indeed very low in meat content, Taco Bell will need to be forthright with the public about this. From that point, the restaurant will need to judge whether customers still want the product as-is, or if sales would be better with a change in recipe. Perhaps Taco Bell could even offer 2 distinct options: classic Meat Filling recipe, and Premium (higher meat content.)

I still believe that it’s better, whenever possible, to make food at home rather than bought at a restaurant. With fewer cooks making the stew, we can have more control over what we’re actually eating when we make food from scratch at home. But admittedly, this may be difficult with the fast-pace of our lives, and we have the right to require complete honesty from restaurants about what they’re putting in our food–even if that honesty causes the restaurant to lose sales.

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