Bellwether Burrito

Dashboard Dining Index ranks Crunchwrap Supreme best portable product

IRVINE, Calif. -- With the average American spending more than 100 hours commuting to work each year, and with summer travel season in full swing, people are filling up their stomachs at the dashboard instead of the dinner table. U.S. residents are eating in their cars now more than ever. In fact, nearly a third of Americans (30%) eat in their cars at least once or twice a week.

In response to America's growing habit of eating on the go, Taco Bell put its new Crunchwrap Supreme to a moving road test against the competition's most car-friendly products. [image-nocss] The Dashboard Dining Index Study, conducted this month by Kelton Research, Los Angeles, rates the messiness, convenience and portability of on the go menu items found at leading quick-service restaurants. Study participants were randomly selected at drive-thrus and then surveyed after eating a specific menu item as a passenger in a moving vehicle.

Overall, the Crunchwrap Supreme led the way among those surveyed as the most Perfect to Eat-On-The-Go menu item, the fast feeder said, with chicken nuggets, hamburgers and sandwich wraps following respectively.

Most car passengers (85%) agreed they could eat the Crunchwrap Supreme with only one hand. The product also received top marks for its portable design and packaginga hexagon-shaped tortilla stuffed with seasoned beef, nacho cheese sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream, sealed on all sides to avoid spills, and served in a lap-sized box with attached lid.

With two-thirds of our business coming through the drive-thru and growing, we know our customers are looking for menu items that allow them to enjoy their food without wearing it, said Greg Creed, chief marketing officer, Taco Bell Corp. The new Crunchwrap Supreme was designed to handle well in the car, as well as other on the go situations, and stay in one piece no matter how bumpy the ride.

While 68% of Americans say they eat in their cars to save time, they also have concerns about messiness, trash or spills that come along with eating on the go. According to the Dashboard Dining Index, most consumers did not experience any crumbs or spills in their car when eating the Crunchwrap Supreme, earning it a one-napkin rating.

The fast feeder said that the Dashboard Dining Index reinforces the portability of the Crunchwrap Supreme, available at participating Taco Bell restaurants nationwide for a limited time through July 31. It is available for a suggested retail price of $1.79.

The Crunchwrap Supreme introduction is being supported by 30- and 15-second TV spots and radio ads produced by Foote, Cone & Belding. The ad describes the Crunchwrap Supreme as good to go and compares the product to the most cutting-edge portable gadgets to reinforce its on the go attributes.

The Taco Bell Dashboard Dining Index was conducted by Kelton Research in the Los Angeles area during June 2005. Random customers were selected to buy a specific item and then were surveyed after eating the product as a passenger in a moving vehicle. Kelton Research analyzed the following portable menu items from each restaurant chain: Chicken Tenders (Burger King), Chicken McNuggets (McDonald's), the Crunchwrap Supreme (Taco Bell), the Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger (Wendy's), and the Tuna Wrap (SUBWAY). The Dashboard Dining Index rated food on key factors, including messiness, drips or crumbs, number of napkins used and whether the product could be eaten with one hand.

Taco Bell Corp. is a subsidiary of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands Inc.

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