Taco Bell And Tyson Foods Strike Back On Beef Accusations

by Talk Business (roby@aristotle.net) 170 views 

"Where’s the beef?"

The once-popular Wendy’s ad campaign has moved to another fast food chain, involving Springdale-based Tyson Foods in the process.

Last week, an Alabama law firm filed a consumer rights class action lawsuit against Taco Bell claiming that the mexican food chain was guilty of misrepresenting its taco meat beef. The suit suggested Taco Bell should label its meat "taco meat filling" because the product is less than 40% beef.

On Tuesday, Springdale-based Tyson Foods, a supplier of beef to Taco Bell, fired back against the sensational headlines. Tyson officials released a short statement that declared:

"We take great pride in the seasoned beef we provide Taco Bell. We begin with 100 percent USDA-inspected beef. We combine this high quality beef with Taco Bell’s proprietary seasonings and spices; then we slowly cook it and package it for shipment to Taco Bell restaurants. We prepare the seasoned beef at three Tyson Foods plants and all is USDA-inspected. In addition, our operations are also staffed by Tyson quality assurance professionals, who test the product daily to ensure it meets Taco Bell specifications as well as USDA requirements."

On Friday, Taco Bell responded to the accusations with a full-fledged crisis management campaign that included traditional advertising and social media.

In a press release announcing the response, Taco Bell said that its seasoned beef recipe contains 88% beef and 12% "secret recipe." The company then disclosed the ingredients in the 12% "secret recipe," which includes garlic powder, chili pepper, sugar, yeast and other items.

Taco Bell took out full-page ads in major newspapers such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. It also developed a YouTube campaign along with Facebook and company web site facets. Taco Bell said that it was supporting its social media efforts "with an aggressive online campaign on leading search engines and social media networks."

Greg Creed, President of Taco Bell, appears in the YouTube video (see below) and issued a statement in conjunction with the advertising response to the lawsuit saying, "We stand behind the quality of our seasoned beef 100% and we are proud to serve it in all our restaurants.  We take any claims to the contrary very seriously and plan to take legal action against those who have made false claims against our seasoned beef."

Talk Business contributor Emily Reeves of Ms. Adverthinker fame also has thoughts on the Taco Bell response. You can read her reaction at this link.

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