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When the going gets tough, eat!

Junk food (Thinkstock)
Sales over the past year at KFC have given a huge boost to owners Restaurant Brands, lifting the company's annual net profit to $25.1 million. That pushed Restaurant Brand's overall profit for the year up by 25.8 percent over the previous year.

The company also owns Starbucks and Pizza Hut, which trailed the pack, bringing in $200,000 in extra sales over the previous year, against Starbucks' $900,000 increase and KFC's $5.8 million. Not bad for deep-fried chicken and potato.

Actual sales at KFC for the year were $236 million. Million! That's just New Zealand, with 4 million people. In comparison, Pizza Hut did $59.3 million in sales for the year and Starbucks $29.3 million.

Who are all these people eating KFC anyway? Whenever I drive past the local takeaway shops, Pizza Hut is jam-packed and KFC is all but empty. Is it socially acceptable to eat pizza but not fried chicken? Are all those KFC eaters ferreting away their fried chicken via the drive-through? Are they secretly chowing down on Double Down burgers when no-one else is looking?

Apparently, more burger offerings and redecorating the stores were part of the year's success at KFC. However, the latest burger, the Double Down — with two layers of fried chicken and 32.3g of fat — seems to have offended some people's sensibilities.

It's not enough that people are scoffing fat-laden and sugary foods, but the companies that sell them are flaunting their power by introducing more of it on the market. KFC already has a 36g-fat item on the menu, the five-piece "grilled buffalo wings" pack. Which is ironic, as KFC says it introduced the grilled range for "a wider focus on nutrition", and that it is "committed to offering [their] customers healthier choices where [it] can".

The US KFC website might say "eating sensibly, combined with appropriate exercise, is the best solution for a healthy lifestyle". But KFC NZ simply says, "A healthy diet is a balanced diet." To help people make informed decisions, they provide a "nutritional analysis brochure showing the energy values of each menu item".

In other words: Here's the junk — it's on your head if you eat it.

Perhaps Restaurant Brands should do what a certain confectionery company did and buy a weight-loss company. That way they could lick both ends of the potato and gravy — make money off people eating junk, then make money off them again as they repent.

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