From a USA Today report: Fast food’s next better-for-you twist has wings: “natural” chicken.
That’s chicken with no additives. Some say it’s tastier and healthier. It’s certainly pricier. Arby’s is about to announce plans to be the first national fast-food chain to sell only natural chicken. The move comes at a time when chicken of all types has emerged as fast food’s hottest growth area.
More fast-foodies are expected to follow Arby’s. Two fast-casual chains, Panera Bread and Chipotle, are testing natural chicken. A few regional chains have sold it for years, including Chick-fil-A and Chicken Out.
The label “natural” means the food contains no hormones, antibiotics or artificial ingredients and is “minimally” processed, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That’s less stringent than rules for “organic” – and easier for fast-food chains to accommodate.
Growing consumer interest in natural chicken and other natural meats has one key driver: safety concerns. Health concerns about everything from mad cow disease to E. coli bacteria have consumers seeking higher-quality meat, even at a fast-food joint.