LOUISVILLE Ky. KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell parent Yum! Brands Inc. is teaming up with online fitness services provider eFit4Me.com and University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino to help consumers make better eating and lifestyle choices in the new year.
Beginning Jan. 1, as part of its “Keep it Balanced” health-and-wellness campaign, Yum said it would offer consumers a free, one-month trial membership to eFit4Me and a deep discount in monthly fees for people who stick with the program. Yum said its A&W and Long John Silver’s chains would join KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in promoting the eFit4Me offer at their individual brand websites. Coach Pitino will appear in public service announcements for Yum and provide monthly fitness tips at www.keepitbalanced.com.
Yum’s continuing effort to introduce lower-fat food options and be perceived as proactive in educating consumers about nutrition and wellness stands in contrast to its defensive posture in past. The foodservice company has been criticized, and even sued, for serving overly fatty or trans-fat-laden foods by public health advocacy organizations, such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
In October, Yum said its U.S. chain operations would become the industry’s first domestic brands to voluntarily place product calorie information on their respective menu boards in company-owned restaurants beginning in 2008, with a targeted completion date of Jan. 1, 2011. In early 2007, both Taco Bell and KFC switched to cooking oils with zero grams of trans fat per serving, among other recent initiatives aimed at promoting the more healthful menu options available at Yum-owned chains.
The online service eFit4Me provides nutrition information and helps consumers establish and track their progress from customized training regimens based on age, gender, starting level of fitness, the workout equipment they have available and other personal or lifestyle considerations. Under the agreement with Yum, consumers who want to continue using the site will pay $5.95 per month, down from the advertised monthly charge of $12.95.
“We are committed to continue offering ‘Better for You’ menu options, educate consumers about the foods they eat, and promote exercise so they can maintain a balanced lifestyle,” said Jonathan Blum, chief public affairs officer for Yum Brands, whose chains operate or franchise nearly 36,000 restaurants worldwide.