Taco Bell, Pizza Hut Ditching Artificial Flavors By End Of 2015

The menus for Taco Bell and Pizza Hut will soon include fewer ingredients listed under your favorite meal, as the two fast food restaurants announced Monday that they plan to ditch artificial colors and flavors by the end of the year.

The Associated Press reports that the two companies, which are owned by Yum Brands Inc., join a long list of other food-related businesses including Chipotle, Panera, Nestle and Kraft that have shelved the use of artificial flavors, colors and preservatives in recent months.

Pizza Hut plans to remove all artificial colors and preservatives from menu items by the end of July, while Taco Bell will take out all artificial colors, artificial flavors, high-fructose corn syrup and unsustainable palm oil from its food by the end of 2015. Artificial preservatives are expected to be gone from the Mexican-style chain’s line-up by 2017, “where possible,” a rep for the company says.

Changes at Taco Bell include a switch from utilizing black pepper flavor to actual black pepper in seasoned beef, and removing artificial dyes Yellow No. 6 and Blue No. 1 – which give food a brighter hue – from nacho cheese and avocado ranch dressing, respectively.

A spokesperson for the Bell says that the company plans to begin testing new recipes without the additives in select markets later this year.

The move from Taco Bell and Pizza Hut comes as food makers are facing pressure from consumers to create products with what is seen as more healthful ingredients.

While the Center for Science in the Public Interest says that not all additives or hard to pronounce ingredients are necessarily bad for customers, many fast food chains have found that using the ingredients might not be worth the blemished image.

John Coupland, a professor of food science at Penn State University, said that the restaurants could do other things to make a more significant impact the healthiness of their food, such as reducing salt, sugar and portion sizes.

A representative for Yum Brands did not immediately comment to the AP on whether or not its other fast food chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken, would follow Taco Bell and Pizza Hut’s lead and ditch additives.

Taco Bell, Pizza Hut: Artificial Ingredients Getting Booted [The Associated Press]