Bacon sundaes and hot-dog pizzas, anyone?

The fast-food sector purports to go healthier, but it's hard to resist bacon's siren call.

By Kim Peterson Apr 12, 2012 2:21PM
Fast-food stocks have been on a roll lately as the industry moves toward healthier foods that appeal to a broader audience. But the fatty, indulgent menu items are still there.

Pizza Hut restaurants in the U.K. have unveiled a pizza with a crust that has hot dogs tucked inside. The company, owned by Yum Brands (YUM), describes a "hot dog sausage bursting from our famous stuffed crust" (it also comes with a mustard drizzle). You can see the picture at the bottom of this page. No word on whether this crust is coming to the U.S., however.

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Burger King, also experimenting with pork products, is testing a bacon sundae, according to GrubGrade. It looks like a regular sundae with a strip of bacon stuck in there like a spoon.

Jack in the Box (JACK) sells a bacon shake with bacon-flavored syrup and vanilla ice cream. The regular size has 773 calories.

The news led one Twitter user to joke that he was "long obesity." But fast-food stocks have been one of the smartest trades of the last few years. McDonald's (MCD) shares have soared 78% in the last three years. Yum Brands is up nearly 140%. Jack in the Box hasn't done so well, with shares basically flat. Burger King plans to go public again nearly two years after being taken private.

Fast-food restaurants have been busy expanding menus to attract more women and families. That means lighter fare, such as wraps and salads, and new beverage items, such as the McCafe line at McDonald's.

The strategy has worked well as the economy soured. McDonald's became a Friday night alternative to pricier restaurants. And gimmicky items -- like the hot dog crust pizza -- are a big part of the strategy also because they attract customers from across the spectrum.

If you're going long obesity, you might want to check out these other high-performing stocks: Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) is up more than 55% in the last year. Anheuser-Busch (BUD) is up 19%. And Domino's Pizza (DPZ) has risen 95%.

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