It’s hard to praise fast food companies for promising to use real black pepper instead of “black pepper flavor,” and yet, when so many artificial colors and flavorings have become ubiquitous in our food, it’s important to point out the effort. Yum! Brands, which owns both Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, announced this week that they will stop putting artificial ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, black pepper flavor, added trans fats and other things in the food they sell.

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While the announcement sounds almost revolutionary (which, less face it, is just kind of sad), it comes on the heels of many other restaurant chains trying to appeal to a more nutrition-conscious public by removing insipid chemicals and “flavorings” from the food they sell. Panera Bread got rid of 150 artificial ingredients recently and even McDonald’s is pledging to stop using chicken injected with antibiotics. Chipotle has also completely removed GMO foods from its menu. Recently, Yum! Brands announced that Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut would use only palm oil produced sustainably in their foods.

Related: Former McDonald’s CEO opens a sustainable and healthy fast food restaurant to rival the giant

It’s unfortunate that restaurants have to pledge to use actual food instead of artificial colors and flavors in order to get our attention and create a buzz, but there it is. Hopefully, even more restaurants will follow suit as consumers become more aware of both the health and environmental implications of putting chemicals in our favorite foods.

Via Refinery 29

Images via Flickr/Mike Mozart