CALIFORNIA—Taco Bell becomes the latest fast food company to make a change to its menu in hopes of pleasing healthier consumers.
The Irvine based Mexican-style chain announced Tuesday, May 26 it was cutting artificial colors and flavors, high fructose corn syrup, and trans fat from 95 percent of its menu by the end of the year. The company, owned by Yum! Brands Inc., is also trying to eliminate artificial preservatives and other additives from its menu by the end of 2017.
The announcement comes in the same year that other major fast-food chains—including McDonald’s Corp., Chipotle, and Panera Bread—have already claimed to make efforts to improve their food quality.
“We’re part of an exciting time – a food revolution,” said Liz Matthews, the company’s chief food innovation officer. “Today’s customers are more curious and interested about food than ever. They want to understand what they’re eating and expect to know more about it.”
Taco Bell will replace its menu’s artificial ingredients with natural contents. Instead of using “black pepper flavor,” the chain will start using actual black pepper in its seasoned beef, according to Matthews.
Artificial dye Yellow No. 6 will be removed from Taco Bell’s nacho cheese, Blue No. 1 will be removed from its avocado ranch dressing and carmine, a bright pigment, will be removed from its red tortilla strips.
These changes will not affect beverages and co-branded products such as the Doritos Loco Tacos. In addition, the effort to reformulate its menu will not result in higher prices and the taste will not be compromised.
“I want people to know that when they choose a Chalupa, they can feel great about choosing that Chalupa because its affordable, its craveable and we put the highest-quality food out there for them to enjoy,” said Chief Executive Brian Niccol. “People just assume that in order to do this, things have to become more expensive. That’s a myth.”
“We’re simplifying with natural alternatives and staying true to who we are and what makes us unique.” said Niccol.