Manly burger gets the thumbs down

GRACE MILLIMACI

Controversy surrounds a bunless burger launched in WA this week targeting "young men left unsatisfied by traditional burgers".

KFC said its The Double burger - two slices of cheese, bacon and barbecue sauce sandwiched between two chicken breast fillets - was a first for Australia after it smashed sales records in the United States and Canada.

The $7.95 burger is available in two flavours: KFC's Original and Zinger, with the latter outweighing the former both in fat and kilojoules. The 238g Zinger version has 2515 kilojoules, 35.7g of fat, 2058mg of sodium and 48.3g of protein.

Health professionals are astounded that the burger has been introduced to a nation already struggling to cope with an obesity epidemic.

Heart Foundation WA chief executive Maurice Swanson said the burger's kilojoules and fat levels were way off the Richter scale and it was an example of why governments needed to regulate junk food advertising.

"If this were an earthquake it would be a nine," Mr Swanson said.

"Junk food companies should be prohibited from sponsoring sporting organisations (and) from using sporting personalities to promote junk food products.

"Companies should be compelled to use traffic light labelling on their junk food products to help consumers make an informed choice for them and their families."

Australian Medical Association WA president David Mountain said the burger was another insult to people's waistline and heart.

Sixty per cent of West Australian men are overweight or obese, followed by about 55 per cent of women and a quarter of children, Associate Professor Mountain said.

KFC Australia chief marketing officer Nikki Lawson said the company was excited about bringing the product to Australian shores for the next four weeks.

"As one of the most successful burgers in KFC history, with more than 15 million sold globally to date, we believe this product will satisfy the appetites of fans across our country," Ms Lawson said.

The company said it was one of the "manliest" burgers on the market - perfect for an occasional "Mantime" meal.

The burger had less fat than most popular burgers, the company said.

The burger's launch was linked to Month of Mantime, during which Australian men would be encouraged to spend more time with their mates.

There were mixed reactions when The West Australian asked men to sample the burgers.

Louis Talbot, 24, said he had read about the burger on a news website and thought it looked "pretty gross".

The iinet customer service officer said that although it tasted fine he would not buy one, nor would he recommend it to friends.

"It's a bit over the top, but KFC always is," he said.

"I imagine there's a particular subset of people that it would appeal to."

Quinns Rocks resident Shayne Henke, 44, said the burger would appeal to hungry tradesmen.

Although he was pleasantly surprised by the flavour, he would be taking a long walk on the beach to work off the kilojoules.