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Yum discusses brands' product plans

LOUISVILLE Ky. Officials at Yum! Brands Inc. said the company is looking to expand on successful product introductions at its brands, including new varieties of Taco Bell's Frutista Freeze and more choices in Pizza Hut's Tuscani pasta line.

Yum executives spoke to investors in a conference call Wednesday after reporting a 4.4-percent increase in net income for the company's Sept. 6-ended third quarter. 

David C. Novak, Yum's chairman and chief executive, described the Frutista introduction at Taco Bell as "an unqualified success" and hinted that the frozen beverage platform would help the Mexican chain snag more afternoon snack traffic and break into the dessert category. Taco Bell in May debuted the Frutista Freeze in two flavors, strawberry and strawberry-mango, and is already promoting a creamier version on its website. The new versions are called Triple Berries 'n Crème, Strawberries 'n Crème and Mango 'n Crème.

At Pizza Hut, Novak said the Tuscani pasta line has fetched $500 million in sales, and he said the company "has a whole line of different kinds of pastas" that it will introduce over the next two years. He did not disclose specifics. The current line includes Meaty Marinara, Creamy Chicken Alfredo and Premium Bacon Mac 'N Cheese.

For its third quarter, Yum said a 4-percent increase in corporate same-store sales at domestic locations was led by strong performances by Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, but dragged down by negative results at KFC. Novak said he believes the national rollout next year of the Kentucky Grilled Chicken line would improve sales at that chain.

Yum officials also disclosed plans for new menu items at its overseas restaurants. In China, KFC is trying out fish and beef products, including a Szechwan beef wrap, and Pizza Hut units, which are positioned as casual dining, are starting to serve afternoon tea and desserts. Elsewhere overseas, KFC is expanding its Australian test of Crushers, a frozen beverage in mango, coffee and cookies-and-cream flavors.

The world’s largest restaurant company, Yum oversees more than 35,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries and territories. Its other brands include Long John Silver's and A&W All American Food.

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