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Fast Food Chains Have Healthy Success With Fresh Buzzwords

Fresh-focused food marketing buzzwords are quickly catching on with consumers and protecting fast food chains from the regulatory scrutiny associated with health-related claims. Advertising Age reports that buzzwords such as wholesome, natural, fresh and local are swiftly replacing previously popular phrases like low-calorie, low-fat and low-carb.

"More traditional health claims on the menu tend to get an adverse reaction by the customer because they associate healthy claims like low-fat with less taste," said Darren Tristano, exec VP at Technomic. "Newer descriptions are designed around the idea that the food is better for you, is of better quality, but is still food."

Today’s consumers are more knowledgeable about nutrition and prefer to live healthier lifestyles instead of just dieting. Consumers’ embrace of terms such as wholesome and natural is also a boon for marketers since these words can’t be clearly defined or regulated, which is part of the marketing strategy. These fresh buzzwords may be vague but they still create a positive sentiment toward the food, the restaurant and the overall experience.

Industry analysts warn that restaurants must be careful with the words they use. For example, Arby’s recently launched a campaign built on the concept that Arby's has wholesome food that puts people in a good mood. Their campaign spotlights an Angus Three Cheese and Bacon sandwich, which may be wholesome but is definitely not healthful. While the restaurant hasn’t changed what they do, they have changed the way they promote it.

Then there's Subway, whose slogan "Eat Fresh" strongly resonates with consumers. In fact, Subway has a reputation for being one of the more healthful fast food chains on the market. Sandwiches can be customized for healthful options or more indulgent items. Since diners can see their sandwiches being prepared in front of them, consumers define the chain as offering fresh, quality food for a healthful lunch or dinner.

Other fast food restaurants whose health claims appeal to consumers include Wendy's, with its "fresh, never frozen" and "you know when it's real" messaging, as well as McDonald's with its oatmeal accompanied by a "bowl full of wholesome" positioning.

The Federal Trade Commission is not expected to crack down on marketers using these buzzwords, unless it views the advertising as deceptive or it believes the chains are making questionable claims about health benefits. In the near future, restaurants can expect to face federally-mandated menu-labeling for all restaurant chains with more than 20 locations. They will also be required to list calorie counts on all menus and must provide nutrition information upon consumer request.

For now, fast food restaurants are continuing to freshen up their menus and enjoy the reward of healthier business.

Read the article.

MDG Advertising is a full-service South Florida advertising agency, with offices in Florida and New York, that specializes in developing targeted franchise marketing solutions, exceptional online executions, and solid branding and media buying strategies that give franchises a real competitive advantage. MDG Advertising handles creative, media, and interactive marketing for Coverall, one of the world’s leading commercial-cleaning franchising companies, with a global network of more than 90 support centers and 9,000 franchisees.

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