Taco Bell, which does approximately 70 percent of its business via the drive thru, is set to introduce healthier choices for customers with its new Drive-Thru Diet Menu, featuring seven Fresco-style menu offerings with nine grams or less of fat.

Available at participating Taco Bell locations nationwide, the Drive-Thru Diet Menu features seven Taco Bell items prepared with Fiesta Salsa—a mix of diced tomatoes, white onions, and cilantro—that replaces the cheese and sauce, and includes only five calories per serving.

The Drive-Thru Diet Menu includes: Fresco Crunchy Taco (7 grams of fat, 150 calories); Fresco Burrito Supreme–Chicken (8 grams of fat, 340 calories); Fresco Burrito Supreme–Steak (8 grams of fat, 330 calories); Fresco Bean Burrito (8 grams of fat, 340 calories); Fresco Soft Taco (7 grams of fat, 180 calories); Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Taco (4.5 grams of fat, 160 calories); and Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco (4 grams of fat, 170 calories).

“The reality is most Americans are on-the-go and will eat foods purchased through a drive thru an average of 10 times a month,” says registered dietitian Ruth Carey and nutritionist for the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. “Whether ordering in the drive thru, or in the restaurants, Taco Bell’s Drive-Thru Diet Menu makes eating better convenient with not just one, but seven tasty choices with nine grams of fat or less.”

“Taco Bell is committed to offering a great-tasting menu that gives consumers the variety and choices they demand,” says David Ovens, chief marketing officer of Taco Bell Corp. “Using quality ingredients like our freshly prepared Fiesta Salsa, the Drive-Thru Diet Menu is true to our Mexican-inspired heritage by offering real variety in form, flavors, taste, texture, and the aroma our customers love, while being lower in fat.”

Customers will hear about Taco Bell’s Drive-Thru Diet Menu and Fresco-style foods through an integrated campaign that will roll out during the first quarter of 2010. The campaign includes advertising, in-store promotions, Web sites, and social media activity, as well as public relations and integration with Taco Bell’s existing NBA marketing partnership. Additionally, Taco Bell has teamed up with Carey to offer sound nutrition advice for people looking to make better choices at quick serves.

Taco Bell’s Drive-Thru Diet Menu campaign will feature Christine Dougherty, a real-life Taco Bell customer who serves as an example of how to make better choices when ordering at a drive thru and will become the face of the seven Fresco-style menu items. During a two-year period, Dougherty consumed only 1,250 calories per day, a 500 calorie/day reduction, and replacing her regular quick-serve meals with Taco Bell’s Fresco menu offerings. Her story will be told online and through Taco Bell advertising, and be featured in stores through signage and promotions about the Drive-Thru Diet Menu. Dougherty will also be featured in Taco Bell’s first ever infomercial, a long-form piece that will detail her story as well as some helpful tips from Carey.

Drive Thru, Menu Innovations, News, Taco Bell