In recent weeks, the fast-food industry has made a renewed push to remove antibiotics from its chicken products. Among them:
Why the change? Antibiotics are used for animal health maintenance, disease prevention, and treatment of disease, but there’s a growing concern among consumers and health officials that these same antibiotics lead to an increase in treatment-resistant bacterial infections in humans. Thus, the food industry, including fast food, has been continuously moving away from the practice.
Additionally, there’s been a measured shift toward chicken and away from beef in fast food. According to a recent report by research firm Technomic, the top 250 U.S. restaurant chains added about 325 new chicken items during the 12-month period ended June 30, compared to just 73 new beef items. Analysts say this trend reflects consumer cravings for healthier, high-protein meat.
Nevin Barich is the Food & Beverage analyst for Industry Intelligence, a Los Angeles-based market intelligence firm. It's the perfect job for him: He loves junk food, he often works besides a glass of Diet Dr. Pepper, and anytime one of the health nuts in his office gives him grief for eating a Big Mac, he gets to smile and say: "Hey, this is my job." Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.