Yum! bolsters C.S.R. performance

by Eric Schroeder
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Yum! Brands' Pizza Hut has added Skinny Slice pizzas, which come in five varieties with 250 or fewer calories.

LOUISVILLE, KY. — Nutrition, food quality and safety, and ethical sourcing and supply form the nucleus of Yum! Brands’ corporate social responsibility when it comes to food. In each area, the company said it believes it is delivering results consumers may feel good about.

In terms of nutrition, Yum! has committed to being the preferred restaurant of choice for consumers seeking balanced options.

“We are really proud of all of the food that we offer,” said Jonathan Blum, chief global nutrition officer at Yum! “We believe that all of our food can be part of a balanced lifestyle if eaten in moderation and balanced with exercise. We are also making great progress on nutrition strategy focusing on three main pillars: offering more choice, more transparency and making more nutritional improvements to our ingredients.”

Yum! has adopted an overarching goal to ensure each of its brands (KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell) will offer meal options that meet one-third of the Recommended Daily Allowance (R.D.A.), striving for 15% of meal options by 2015 and 20% by 2020.

Pizza Hut has added Skinny Slice and Gluten-Free Pizzas. Skinny Slice pizzas come in five varieties with 250 or fewer calories, while Gluten-Free Pizzas are made with Udi’s gluten-free crust that is prepared following a strict preparation process certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group.

The Cantina Power menu was launched at Taco Bell restaurants in 2014. The menu, which Yum! said combines “high protein and big flavor,” features burritos and bowls packed with lean protein and nutrient-rich produce. Taco Bell also was the first Q.S.R. restaurant to offer American Vegetarian Association certified vegetarian food items, including bean burrito, black bean and rice burrito, cheese quesadilla, cheese roll-up, and the A.M. grilled taco with egg and cheese.

Transparency also has taken on greater importance for Yum! The company said Taco Bell voluntarily has posted ingredient statements, nutrition and allergen information on-line since 2008 and on mobile devices since 2009. Pizza Hut plans to make nutrition, allergen and ingredient information easier for consumers to access in 2015.

When it comes to making nutritional improvements to its ingredients, Yum! said it is committed to reducing sodium, eliminating trans fats, restricting allergens and sensitivities and lowering calories and fats. Pizza Hut removed more than half a million lbs of salt from its menu in 2012 and plans to remove another 1.5 million lbs of salt from core ingredients in 2015. Taco Bell is phasing into only using sustainable palm oil in its ingredients by the end of 2015. In the United Kingdom, Yum! said its KFC units have removed more than 4,500 tonnes of palm from frying oil, chicken, buns, tortillas, fries, hash browns, cobettes and chocolate sauces.

A second major component of Yum!’s C.S.R. food focus revolves around food safety and quality. The company said its food safety systems include standards and training of restaurant employees.

“These standards and training topics include, but are not limited to, employee health, product handling, ingredient and product temperature management, and prevention of cross contamination,” the report said. “Food safety training is focused on illness prevention, food safety and regulation adherence in day-to-day restaurant operations. Standards also ensure code compliance when building new or renovating existing restaurants.”

In 2014, Yum! said it updated and/or created 21 food safety standards in complement to the newly created global Yum! food safety policies. All work was completed through global review teams representing all brands and divisions to ensure business relevance and best practices were reflected in the final standards.

Ethical sourcing and supply is the third component of Yum!’s C.S.R. food plan. The goal: To source the freshest food from an environmentally and socially responsible agricultural supply chain.

“Our brands continue to focus on optimizing our agriculture supply chain,” Yum! said. “As an industry, processes and customer expectations change, requiring us to be more aware of and attentive to our social and environmental impacts. We have been responsive to issues as they arise, yet we cannot always control or avoid them at every stage of the supply chain. We work closely with food processors and, where possible, with those who raise livestock and grow our produce to work in environmentally responsible ways. We have made great progress in a number of areas where we feel we can have the greatest and most significant impact.”

Yum! said it continues to work toward adopting a single poultry welfare audit throughout its system, in addition to constituting audits and policies that align its program for beef and pork.
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