Pizza Hut, Taco Bell Are Ditching Artificial Ingredients

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The seasoned beef used at Taco Bell will soon come with real black pepper instead of artificial black pepper flavoring.

As part of a broader effort to go natural, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, two of Yum Brand Inc.’s largest restaurant chains, are axing artificial coloring and flavors from their food, The Associated Press reports.

In addition to adding actual black pepper to its food rather than imitation flavoring, Taco Bell is ditching the Yellow No. 6 dye from its nacho cheese, the Blue No. 1 from its avocado ranch dressing, and carmine from its red tortilla strips.

“Taco Bell says it will take out artificial colors, artificial flavors, high-fructose corn syrup and unsustainable palm oil from its food by the end of 2015,” the AP said. The Mexican-style-food chain also said it would remove artificial preservatives and additives where possible by 2017.

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, the initiative to go natural will affect about 95 percent of the items on Taco Bell’s menu, although it doesn’t apply to beverages or co-branded items.

“Not included in the initiative is the Freeze beverage platform, with its vibrant hues not commonly found in nature, as well as the popular Doritos Locos Tacos line, with its Doritos-flavored taco shells that include monosodium glutamate, artificial flavors and colorings like Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6,” NRN said.

Pizza Hut announced it will remove artificial colors and preservatives from its food by the end of July.

Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are joining a rapidly growing set of food companies and restaurants that are opting to use more natural ingredients in their food.

Fulfilling its promise to serve “food with integrity,” Chipotle recently announced it had removed all genetically modified ingredients from its food.

In addition, “restaurant chains including Panera, McDonald’s and Subway have said they’re switching to ingredients people can easily recognize,” the AP said.

Nestle announced in February that it was removing all artificial flavors and colors from its chocolate candies.

Check out “When Foods Go ‘Natural’ – Does That Really Make Them Healthier?”

Do you make food purchasing decisions based on the ingredients? Share your comments below.

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