A decade ago, Americans were happy to eat whatever Whopper or pepperoni pizza was served at the drive-through, but this is a different, more health-conscious era, and fast food chains are struggling to catch up. McDonald’s has introduced kale to its menus, and Wendy’s and Burger King are nixing soda from kids’ menus. Now Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, both subsidiaries of Yum Brands, have announced that they will remove all artificial ingredients, trans fats, and high fructose corn syrups from their menus by July. Taco Bell and Pizza Hut join Panera and Chipotle in the promise to remove all artificial ingredients.
This means that “black pepper flavor” added to ground beef won’t fly anymore: Taco Bell will have to spring for real black pepper, according to The Associated Press. In an effort to create transparency between the customer and cheesy Quesalupa, Taco Bell further explained that they will be removing Yellow No. 6 from its nacho cheese, Blue No. 1 from its avocado ranch dressing, and carmine (a high pigment) from its tortilla strips.
"I do not want to lose any element of being accessible to the masses,” Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol told The Associated Press. “"It will be the same great tasting Taco Bell that people love."
But some are skeptical about the decision. John Coupland, a professor of food science at Penn State University, said that the artificial ingredient ban is a smart way to give the appearance of healthier food without taking out any of the salt, sugar, and fat that makes fast food addictive.