Taco Bell discontinues kids' meals and toys

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Taco Bell is discontinuing its kids' meals and toys at U.S. restaurants beginning this month, the Irvine-based Mexican-style chain said.

The fast-food giant said it's the first in the industry to do undertake the effort, which it said will be in effect nationwide by January.

The company, which along with Pizza Hut and KFC is part of the Yum Brands Inc. family, said kids' meals and toys had an "insignificant impact on system sales."

Individual menu items on the kids' lineup, including the crunchy taco, the soft taco and the bean burrito, will now appear on the regular menu.

"As we continue our journey of being a better, more relevant Taco Bell, kids' meals and toys simply no longer make sense for us to put resources behind," said Chief Executive Greg Creed in a statement.

American consumers have been losing interest in kids' meals for years, according to research from the NPD Group. Young diners have increasingly sophisticated palates and are more open to healthful foods, according to researchers.

In a report last year, the group found that restaurant visits that included a kids' meal fell 6 percent in2011.

In 2006, 21 billion parties brought children to restaurants. By 2011, the num ber was down to 19.5 billion.