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AMERICANS GIVE FAST FOOD INDUSTRY A 'C+' ON NUTRITION; NATIONAL CONSUMER STUDY SHOWS WIDESPREAD CONCERN ABOUT KID'S MEAL NUTRITION, FOOD SAFETY

 ATLANTA, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans say they want to order "healthy" products when they go to fast food restaurants, but the industry isn't doing a good enough job of giving them what they want, according to the latest results of the Chick-fil-A/Gallup Fast Food Nutrition Monitor.
 The semi-annual study is the first national monitor designed to measure consumer attitudes and behavior with regard to fast food nutrition.
 In the study, consumers gave the fast food industry an average grade of "C+" when asked to evaluate the industry's performance in developing and offering healthy products. When asked if availability of healthy food affected their choice of restaurants, more than half of all Americans said it did. One in four Americans reported that they base their menu selection on the nutritional value of the menu items.
 "Despite reports to the contrary and the recent wave of 'indulgence' fast food product introductions like half-pound bacon cheeseburgers and extra-large pizzas, the American public is telling us that nutritional fast food choices are important," said Dan Cathy, executive vice president of operations at Chick-fil-A, Inc. "Instead of rolling out only high-calorie, high-fat items to satisfy consumers' desire for taste, the industry should focus its efforts on introducing healthy items that taste just as good as their not-so-healthy counterparts."
 CONCERN ABOUT KID'S MEALS
 Consumers also expressed high levels of concern about the healthiness of kid's meals. Of those Americans who had purchased a kid's meal, 74 percent said they were extremely, very or somewhat concerned about the nutritional value of the meal. Nearly half perceive kid's meals as not very or not at all healthy. Only 7 percent felt kid's meals were extremely or very healthy.
 According to the findings, consumers are willing to put their money where their mouth is. Eighty-four percent of those surveyed said they would pay more money for a healthier kid's meal.
 FOOD SAFETY CONCERNS
 The study also examined awareness of recent food safety problems at several fast food restaurants. The study found that consumer awareness of the issue was extremely high, with 86 percent of Americans saying they had heard of the episodes. According to those polled, awareness of the incidents has also caused many to change their purchasing behavior. Of those who had heard of the incidents, nearly one in four said they have changed where or how often they eat at a fast food restaurant.
 CONSUMERS SAY ONE THING, DO ANOTHER
 Although the findings indicated a high degree of concern about factors affecting fast food nutrition, consumers reported they are not necessarily applying that knowledge when they reach the fast food counter.
 In the survey, consumers were asked if they were concerned about factors such as sodium content, calories and food preparation when ordering a fast food meal. Later, they were asked how often they purchased a fast food meal based on those same factors. The largest difference between stated attitude and behavior occurred for total amount of fat. Seventy-eight percent of consumers said they were extremely or very concerned about fat, yet only 59 percent said they ordered menu items that were low in fat always or most of the time. Healthy nutritious food and cholesterol tied for the second largest attitude behavior gap.
 "These results indicate that even though Americans know that fatty foods are not good for them, they are having a hard time giving them up," said Cathy. "By educating consumers about fast food menu items that are both healthy and good tasting, we can satisfy their taste as well as improve their diets."
 The survey is sponsored by Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A, Inc., and conducted by The Gallup Organization. It is based on a random sample of all telephone households in the continental United States from May 10 through July 26. A total of 1,036 adults 18 or older were interviewed. All reported figures have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
 Chick-fil-A is the nation's third-largest quick-service chicken restaurant company. The company has nearly 500 restaurants in 31 states and posted 1992 systemwide sales of $356 million. The chain was motivated to probe fast food nutrition issues and attributes because internal customer studies consistently rated Chick-fil-A's nutritional attributes superior to any other major fast food chain.
 -0- 9/29/93
 /NOTE: For more information or a complete copy of study results, call the contact listed below./
 /CONTACT: Carlos DellaMaddalena or Cindi Pickett of Cohn & Wolfe Public Relations, 404-688-5900, for Chick-fil-A/


CO: Chick-fil-A, Inc.; The Gallup Organization ST: Georgia IN: LEI SU:

RA-BN -- AT002 -- 6655 09/29/93 08:34 EDT
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Date:Sep 29, 1993
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