Seattle Restaurants Proving Food Labels Wrong?

Taco Time

Any Time is Taco Time

Taco Time not only has brought us crisp bean burritos, Mexi-Fries, and the best crushed ice this side of the Mississippi – they now have brought doubt to nutrition labels.  No matter what the study says, I personally like having access to nutrition labels, but the study looked at Taco Time over 13 months in and outside King County to test the effect of nutrition labels.  The reason the study was done in restaurants in the Seattle area was because King County recently passed a new nutrition label law while restaurants outside the county did not.  Surprisingly, the study found that the nutrition labels had no effect.  Maybe because Taco Time already indicates what the healthy items are (even though it does not give the details), maybe it is because the clientele are not looking for healthy food from a fast food restaurant.  Whatever the reason, I do not think it is going to change our local laws, nor do I think it will slow the federal government from passing similar laws.

Seattle restaurants have nutrition labels, it makes us more informed, but it does not change our actions.

PS – The study was done by researchers from Duke National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School and the Seattle area public health department.  It was not commissioned by some group like Fast Food Group of America (I made that name up) – so that makes me think the results of the study were unbiased.

Fast Food Restaurants and Mayo sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G

Hamburger

Hamburger with lots of Mayo

What is with fast food restaurants and their love affair with mayonnaise?  If I have a barbecue at my house and make burgers generally I put out ketchup, mustard, and maybe relish and do not think about putting out the mayo.  I can’t think of a time anyone has come up to me and said: Do you have mayo for the burgers?  But I go to a fast food restaurant in Seattle and it seems every burger other than the standard cheeseburger and hamburger comes with mayonnaise.  And if you order a chicken burger it nearly a 100% guarantee they will slap a bunch a mayo on it.  And when I say they put mayonnaise on the hamburgers and chicken burgers, they really put it on.  They do not hold back one bit.

The other day I went Christmas shopping at Big Five in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood and I saw Jack in the Box across the street.  So I went an ordered a small #4: Sourdough Jack with curly fries and half and half Diet Dr. Pepper and Dr. Pepper (might as well save a couple calories).  And the second I pulled forward, I thought “Oh, no!  I forgot to tell them no mayonnaise.”  I would have put it in reverse if someone had not already taken my place at the microphone.  So when I got to the window I asked for a plastic knife and pulled over after getting my order and scraped off the mayo.  But that made me think: how often do fast food restaurants, whether in Seattle or where ever, put mayo on their burgers.  Since I just went to Jack in the Box, I went to their website to find out.

When you go to Jackinthebox.com, and click on “Nutrition” the first option is “Burgers and Steaks” under which there are 15 items.  The first item was a Steak Teriyaki Bowl which I did not even look at because if they put mayo on that, then we have a real problem.  That left 14 items, but even then I felt some of the items needed to be eliminated because they were basically the same thing as another item.  For example, there is a Sirloin Cheeseburger and a Sirloin Swiss & Grilled Onion Burger which are basically the same thing except they change the type of cheese and grill the onions instead of red onions, so I only counted those two burgers as one burger.  The same with Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger (just added bacon), Jumbo Jack with Cheese (just added cheese), and a Hamburger Deluxe with Cheese (just added cheese).  Interesting enough I counted the Sourdough Steak Melt and the Sourdough Jack as two separate burgers since they had different condiments on them (Steak Melt did not have ketchup on it).  Finally, the Bonus Jack has “Secret Sauce” on it, so I did not count it since I have never had it, and I have no idea what the secret sauce is.  Thus, that left 9 burgers, and this is what I found:

Yes No
Mayo 8 1
Ketchup 7 2
Mustard 1 8

So out of the nine burgers, eight had some type of mayo on it (for example, some have “Peppercorn Mayo”); seven had ketchup on it, and only one have mustard.  Only one mustard – I love mustard!

I do not know why fast food restaurants love mayo so much.  Maybe another day I will take more time to figure it out.  Thoughts go through my head: Is mayo cheaper than mustard?  Do Americans really like mayo this much?  They must have done studies and mayo scores really well?  But right now those are just my thoughts.  My last thought is: If fast food restaurants love mayo so much, why don’t they marry it?