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AFC's Popeyes Chicken Plans Low Trans-Fat French Fries 
   10/31/2006 6:42:00 AM

AFC's Popeyes Chicken Plans Low Trans-Fat French Fries

DES MOINES, Iowa (Dow Jones)--AFC Enterprises Inc. (AFCE) said Monday its Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits chain will introduce a trans fat-free biscuit and French fries containing only one gram of trans fat by year-end.

Responding to an inquiry about its menu in light of rival KFC's move to trans fat-free cooking, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta franchiser disclosed the planned changes, but made no mention as to whether trans fat in fried chicken also would be reduced. AFC said Popeyes would post the trans-fat content of its menu as part of its planned changes.

The chain's Web-based nutritional breakdown doesn't do so now, so it couldn't be determined how much trans fat will be removed from the biscuits and fries. Popeyes biscuit revision is notable in that KFC, in announcing its intentions, said that for now its biscuits would contain trans fat.

KFC is a unit of Yum Brands Inc. (YUM). The AFC spokeswoman said work on Popeyes menu is ongoing and that a timetable for completion isn't known.

"Given increased attention to trans fat content, we initiated a review of all our menu items and cooking procedures to identify innovative alternatives that do not sacrifice Popeyes' world-famous flavor," a company statement said.

Trans fats are artery-clogging ingredients that health authorities maintain contribute to heart disease and other ailments.

While trans fats occur naturally in some dairy products and meats, they also are created when cooking oils used for frying are hydrogenated, a process that solidifies them and lengthens their shelf life. Popeyes has about 1,500 fast-food restaurants in the U.S. and about 323 in 24 other countries and two territories.

- By Richard Gibson; Dow Jones Newswires; 515-282-6830; dick.gibson@dowjones.com