7 Crunchy Facts That Unwrap the Intriguing History of Taco Bell

Portland, Oregon - Sep 3, 2018 : Exterior of Taco Bell fast-food restaurant with sign and logo.
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Taco Bell, the well-known fast-food chain, has a history that is as colorful as its menu. With its signature concoctions and quirky marketing strategies, the brand has carved a niche for itself in the food industry. Here, we unravel seven fascinating facts about Taco Bell that reveal its adventurous experiments, bold initiatives, and unexpected origins.

1. Sweet Experimentation in Wisconsin
In 2017, Taco Bell intrigued the sweet tooth of its customers by test marketing the “Kit Kat Chocoladilla” in select Wisconsin locations. This unique dish boasted of melted Kit Kat pieces enveloped in a grilled and folded tortilla, marking the brand’s venture into dessert territory.

2. The Taco Liberty Bell Prank
Creating quite the stir on April 1st, 1996, Taco Bell announced they had acquired the Liberty Bell, subsequently renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. This audacious prank sparked public outrage, simultaneously causing a significant spike in the sales of Taco Bell.

3. Chihuahua Mascot Controversy
Taco Bell found itself embroiled in a legal skirmish when it failed to compensate two Michigan men responsible for creating the famous Taco Bell Chihuahua mascot. The court eventually ordered the fast-food giant to pay a whopping $42 million in restitution.

4. Origins and Culinary Evolution
Taco Bell derived its name from its founder, Glen Bell, who initiated his journey by serving tacos at his first restaurant, Bell’s Hamburgers. He was inspired by observing the popularity of a local Mexican restaurant and, after successfully reverse-engineering their taco recipe, launched a stand exclusively selling tacos. The creation of the iconic Doritos Loco taco exemplifies Taco Bell’s innovative spirit, involving two years of culinary experiments and 40 different recipes. This creation not only became a sensation but also played a pivotal role in Taco Bell’s growth, enabling it to surpass giants like Pizza Hut, KFC, and even McDonald’s.

5. Astronomical Taco Giveaway
In a cosmic marketing move in 2001, Taco Bell promised to give away one free taco to every US citizen if the core of the Soviet Mir space station hit a Taco Bell target floating in the South Pacific Ocean. The target, bearing a bold “Free Taco Here” message along with the Taco Bell logo, showcased the brand’s penchant for out-of-the-box advertising.

6. Helicopter Taco Delivery in Alaska
When pranksters in Bethel, Alaska spread false rumors of a new Taco Bell opening, the disappointed residents were in for a surprise. To make amends, Taco Bell helicoptered in a truck laden with 10,000 tacos, providing an unexpected feast for the thrilled crowd.

7. Space-Grade Tortillas
In a collaboration that was out of this world, NASA utilized Taco Bell tortillas for their space missions, as traditional bread proved too crumbly. Taco Bell rose to the occasion in the 90s by crafting a tortilla with a nine-month shelf life, making it the preferred choice for astronauts’ sandwiches.

10 Surprising Slices of Facts about Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut Fast Casual Restaurant. Pizza Hut is a subsidiary of YUM! Brands
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Pizza Hut, one of the world’s most recognizable pizza chains, has a rich and savory history filled with interesting tidbits. Here are 10 surprising facts that add extra flavor to the story of this renowned pizza brand:

  1. Classic Touch: Pizza Hut cherishes its heritage with the existence of “Pizza Hut Classic” restaurants. Endorsed by co-founder Dan Carney, these locations flaunt legacy logos, iconic red roofs, classic lamps, and the character Pizza Hut Pete welcoming guests at the door.
  2. Space Delivery: Pizza Hut marked its cosmic presence by delivering a pizza to the International Space Station in 2001. The venture saw them paying Russia a whopping $1 million to transport the savory delight into orbit.
  3. Slogan Showdown: In a saucy legal battle, Pizza Hut successfully sued Papa John’s, claiming that their slogan “fresher ingredients” didn’t necessarily mean a “better” pizza.
  4. Cheese Monopoly: The cheese crowning your Pizza Hut pizza likely comes from Leprino Foods, which dominates the pizza cheese market with an 85% share, supplying other major pizza chains like Domino’s and Papa John’s as well.
  5. Franchise Flip: After selling Pizza Hut to Pepsi in 1977, one of the original founders turned his attention to Papa John’s, becoming a major franchisee with ownership of 133 locations by 2001.
  6. Upscale in China: In China, Pizza Hut is a slice above the rest, considered an upscale restaurant offering delicacies like escargot, tiramisu, and lamb shanks.
  7. Presidential Promotion: Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet President, added a slice of endorsement to the brand by starring in a Pizza Hut commercial.
  8. Online Ordering Pioneer: Pizza Hut blazed the digital trail in 1994 with PizzaNet, the first restaurant to test online ordering for delivery, based in Santa Cruz, California. The original site is still accessible, commemorating one of the earliest documented Internet purchases: a pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and extra cheese.
  9. Fragrance Fling: In 2012, the brand toyed with the idea of releasing a limited-edition perfume that encapsulated the scent of fresh dough. Although thousands expressed interest, only 110 fans snagged a bottle through a Facebook competition, receiving their prize in mini pizza box packaging.
  10. App for Assistance: A Florida woman ingeniously used the Pizza Hut app to get police help when she and her children were held hostage. By conveying a message through the app’s comment section, she managed to alert the authorities and ensure the captor’s arrest.

Unveiling Surprising Insights on Artificial Sweeteners

Man adding sugar to his coffee or tea
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Artificial sweeteners, found in a myriad of products across the globe, continue to be a focal point of debate and examination. At this moment, esteemed health entities such as the World Health Organization and the European Food Safety Authority are revisiting their stance on these sugar substitutes. Let’s delve into five fascinating revelations about artificial sweeteners from the latest research:

  1. Rethinking Aspartame: Novel studies are suggesting that aspartame, a prevalent artificial sweetener, might be linked to disruptions in learning and memory in mice, even when consumed in quantities lower than the FDA’s recommended safe limit.
  2. Reevaluating Cancer Risks: A comprehensive review of health records from 102,865 individuals in France, tracked for more than ten years, has unearthed a potential connection between artificial sweetener consumption and a heightened risk of cancer.
  3. Gut Bacteria and Glucose Levels: Research indicates that ingesting artificial sweeteners can modify the microbial composition in our intestines. Remarkably, alterations in gut bacteria and subsequent impacts on blood glucose regulation were noticed after just a fortnight of consumption.
  4. Exploration into Monkfruit Sweetener: The excessive consumption of white table sugar or artificial sweeteners can lead to various health complications. In pursuit of a healthier alternative, scientists have introduced a low-calorie sweetener derived from the luo han guo fruit, also known as “monkfruit.” This sweetener, already available in markets and noted for its gritty texture in solid form, has been found to be as sweet as table sugar and beneficial for promoting “good” gut microbes in laboratory experiments.
  5. Exploring Heart Disease Correlations: Preliminary findings are pointing towards a potential association between the consumption of artificial sweeteners and the onset of heart disease.

8 Unexpected Facts About Instant Ramen

Immerse yourself in the whirlpool of fascinating revelations about a global pantry staple with “8 Unexpected Facts About Instant Ramen.”

Instant Ramen Noodles in a Cup with Beef Flavoring
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1. Instant ramen noodles were created as a solution to the widespread hunger in Japan post-WW2. The brain behind this innovation, Momofuku Ando, envisioned his noodles as a cure for world hunger. Over the years, Ando often infused his workforce with his philosophies, famously exclaiming, “Mankind is noodlekind,” “What are you doing now?,” and “Peace will come when people have food.” These quotes found their way into the company’s employee handbook.

2. The birth of Cup Noodles occurred after Momofuku Ando observed American supermarket executives breaking his ramen to fit into styrofoam coffee cups. They poured boiling water over the broken ramen and enjoyed their meal using forks. This observation led Ando to innovate further and invent Cup Noodles.

3. The University of Chicago Burn Center conducted a retrospective study over ten years, revealing that instant ramen accidents account for over 30% of pediatric scald burns.

4. In 1958, when instant ramen first hit the market, it was deemed a luxury product. Surprisingly, fresh noodles were sold at a price as low as one-sixth of the price of instant ramen.

5. A survey involving 2,000 Japanese participants asked them to nominate the greatest invention of the 20th Century. The top two contenders? Ramen noodles and Karaoke.

6. Did you know that instant ramen noodles undergo a deep-frying process in palm oil before they reach the packaging stage?

7. While preparing your instant noodles, heating the styrofoam cup in the microwave is discouraged. This process releases more of the BPA chemical found in styrofoam, which could pose health risks.

8. Shifting dynamics in prison currency have seen ramen noodles surpass cigarettes as the most popular form of exchange. In a creative culinary twist, prisoners concoct a snack known as a “swole.” This involves blending hot water with a mix of crushed Doritos or Cheetos and ramen. The mixture is then allowed to expand, resulting in a burrito-like delicacy. It seems that the versatility of ramen knows no bounds!

Unwrapping Surprises: 10 Facts About Kraft Foods

Kraft Foods, a household name, has a history full of unexpected twists and fun facts. Here are ten tidbits that might give you a fresh perspective on this familiar brand.

Advertisement billboard displaying logo of The Kraft Foods Group, an American food manufacturing and processing conglomerate
Advertisement billboard displaying logo of The Kraft Foods Group, an American food manufacturing and processing conglomerate
Photo by depositphotos.com

1. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, a family favorite, made its debut during the Great Depression in 1937. With the promise of serving a family of four for a mere 19 cents, it flew off the shelves. In the first year alone, 8 million boxes were sold.

2. The brand’s boxed mac and cheese gained even more popularity during World War II. Thanks to a surplus of cheese, rationing rules allowed people to purchase two boxes for a single ration point.

3. The term “American Cheese” originally referred to a type of cheddar cheese, aptly named American or Yankee Cheddar, that was exported back to England by 1790. However, when James L. Kraft patented a method for manufacturing processed cheese in 1916, the term “American Cheese” was co-opted for Kraft’s processed version.

4. Grey Poupon mustard, a Kraft product in the U.S., owes its moniker to Maurice Grey and Auguste Poupon, the French partners who began producing the condiment in 1866.

5. Canadians hold a particular fondness for Kraft Dinner (Mac and Cheese). It has the distinction of being the most popular grocery item in the country and is considered a national dish.

6. Kraft Foods has ingeniously repurposed old mines in Springfield, MO, creating an expansive underground truck warehouse known as Kraft Caves.

7. Kraft Singles, often considered a staple for sandwiches, are not technically classified as “cheese.” Instead, they must be marketed as a “cheese product.”

8. A crucial factor in James L. Kraft‘s success in building his empire was his innovative approach to cheese packaging, making it easy to slice.

9. Kraft Foods was a subsidiary of Altria, formerly known as Philip Morris, the cigarette company, from 1988 to 2007.

10. In the UK, Kraft’s famous Mac & Cheese carries a warning label regarding possible effects on children’s behavior. This warning is due to the so-called “Southampton Six,” a group of food colorants associated with hyperactivity in children. Parents are alerted to the possible behavioral impacts, which is an important consideration for many families.