Patt Morrison for August 22, 2011

Is there a market for healthy fast food? New chain looks to end greasy stereotype

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A placemat with nutritional information is seen on a tray at a McDonald's restaurant October 1, 2008 in San Rafael, California.

Everyone says they want to eat healthier but when it comes down to it the temptations of cheap, fast, and let’s face it, delicious foods usually prove too great to resist. After all, one of the guilty pleasures of eating fast food is knowing that what tastes so good is really so bad for you. So the marketing idea behind the start-up restaurant chain “LYFE Kitchen,” with its first store opening in Palo Alto this summer, might seem like a bit of a stretch: fast food that tastes great and is good for you.

LYFE will offer fast food with no genetically modified ingredients, no additives, nothing processed and everything under 600 calories. There will be no butter, cream, high fructose corn syrup or fried foods and very little salt. If you’re looking for a side of fries with your grass-fed, organic, lean beef (or veggie) hamburger you’ve come to the wrong place; instead you’ll have the options of oven-baked sweet potato fries, roasted beets, roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted potatoes, seasonal fresh fruit or an ancient grains bowl.

To boost its fast food credentials, the LYFE restaurants will come complete with drive-through windows. While the new LYFE Kitchen is on one extreme end of the spectrum, the old fashioned, gleefully unhealthy fast food chains are taking note of the new health craze. Last week Burger King announced that it was ditching its “King character” themed marketing and producing new commercials that focused on fresh, healthy ingredients. Is there really a market for healthy fast food?

Guests:

Mike Donahue, chief communication officer & spokesperson for LYFE Kitchen

Nancy Luna, author of “The Fast Food Maven” blog at the OCRegister.com and a staff writer at the Orange County Register


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