HUNGRY JACK’S WEIGHS IN

Could Hungry Jacks’ plan to be healthier with its recent kilojoule display on its menu boards help you make healthier decisions? Or is it just another marketing ploy? Naeun Kim reports for The Milk Moustache.

VO: The burgers may no longer be better at Hungry Jack’s. After 16 years of carrying the famous tagline, the fast food chain has opted for a change to represent its new healthier image, renaming the catch-cry to ‘Hungry Jack’s makes it better.’

In October, Hungry Jack’s became Australia’s first fast food chain to display kilojoule information on its menu boards, across its 345 restaurants.

(Hungry Jack’s advertisement)

VO: But will it change the way you order? Professor Sandra Burke is the head of marketing at UTS Business School, and has grave doubts about Hungry Jacks’ new game plan.

Sandra Burke: If they rely completely on the labelling in store, the packaging labelling or the signage in the store, then it probably isn’t going to have a big impact one way or the other.

VO: She says the changes are targeting the wrong segment of the market.

Sandra Burke: They’re a whole bunch of people who are just not very involved. They just don’t pay attention; they don’t pay attention to labels on shelves. They pursue what’s called habitual purchase behaviour, which means they are driven by what they normally do. It’s their behavioural pattern; they just do it. So when consumers are in a low involvement state, they just don’t evaluate.

VO: But Professor of Cardiovascular and Chronic Care, Patricia Davidson, welcomes the change.

Patricia Davidson: It’s a very good move by Hungry Jack’s. What it’ll do is actually make consumers recognise how much they have been consuming, and probably a burger and a fries and a soft drink will be their whole energy requirements for a whole day, so I’m hoping it’ll help stop people from making unwise choices.

VO: One unwise choice you could make is the ultimate double whopper burger at 5,110 kilojoules without sides. Add fries and a soft drink, and you’ve nearly reached the recommended adult daily kilojoule intake of around 8,700 kilojoules.

But Central Hungry Jacks’ manager, Dharti, is still proud of the company’s changes.

Dharti: People used to actually ask when the children buy their meal and everything, they used to ask, ‘Do you have any healthier choice or anything?’ We used to say, ‘No we don’t have any healthier choice.’ But now we can say, ‘Yes we have the healthier choice and you can buy it now.’

VO: So has she seen changes in food orders?

Dharti: Mm..it still looks the same. People still like to eat the classic whopper burger, rather than the healthier choices.

VO: So if there’s no significant impact, why bother with all these changes?

Sandra Burke: If you think about, why do companies do this? They do this because more and more consumers are becoming concerned. Whenever a cultural value shifts and people care more about it, the manufacturer who addresses it first usually wins. But generally speaking, the whole competitive landscape will skew towards addressing that.

VO: McDonald’s and Subway will jump on the bandwagon this month, and KFC soon after, but it seems catering for our health is not their top concern.

Sandra Burke: Sometimes competitors will follow what the other competitors have done in terms of communicating a positive, simply because if they don’t communicate it, it gives people the impression that they don’t have that positive attribute.

(Hungry Jack’s advertisement)

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