Pizza Hut and Taco Bell Clean Up Their Menus

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

May 28, 2015

Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, both quick-serve chains of Yum Brands Inc., on May 26 announced commitments to reformulate their menu items without "artificial" ingredients. They follow by a few weeks Panera Bread's list of 150 ingredients it's in the process of removing.

One news story said Taco Bell's nacho cheese no longer will be colored with yellow No. 6, and Pizza Hut is eliminating synthetic colorings and flavors from almost all pizzas except a few local offerings by the end of July.

"By the end of 2015, Taco Bell plans to remove all artificial flavors and colors, replacing them with natural alternatives in their food," read the Taco Bell statement. "They will also remove other additives like added trans fat, and will replace unsustainable palm oil with sustainable, RSPO-certified palm. And by the end of 2017, Taco Bell will look to remove additional artificial preservatives and additives where possible.

"These simplifications impact more than 95 percent of Taco Bell core food items across its menu, not including beverages and co-branded items. These changes will not compromise the taste and flavors enjoyed at Taco Bell."

Pizza Hut will remove artificial flavors and colors from its nationally available pizzas by no later than the end of July. The chain notes it already eliminated partially hydrogenated oils (artificial trans fats) and MSG.

"Moreover, the company has reduced the sodium in its pizzas as part of its Nutrition Bold Goal," said the Pizza Hut announcement. "By the end of 2015, 15 percent of Pizza Hut pizzas will have just one third of the daily recommended dietary allowance for sodium and 20 percent of its pizzas will meet that criteria by 2020.

"Pizza Hut also does not use any fillers in any of its meat toppings. Its Italian sausage is all natural and sourced from U.S. farmers, and its meatballs are free of any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Pizza Hut also does not add any sugar or oil to its pizza marinara sauce and its cheese is made from 100 percent whole milk mozzarella."

Also in July, Pizza Hut will introduce an interactive nutrition calculator and allergen tool to its website and mobile app that will better enable customers to tailor Pizza Hut menu items to their needs.

Panera Bread on May 5 released a list of 150 ingredients that will be removed from or will never appear in its menu items, claiming to be the first national restaurant chain to do so. The list includes high-fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils and every major non-nutritive sweetener except stevia and monk fruit. Generally, the list bans artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives.

Taco Bell's announcement is here. Pizza Hut's is here.

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