NEW YORK (AP) — Chick-fil-A said it’s removing high-fructose
corn syrup from its white buns and artificial dyes from its sauces and dressings
as part of a push to improve its ingredients.
The fast-food chicken chain said the reformulated buns are
being tested in about 200 Georgia locations, while the sauces and dressings will
be tested starting early next year. It said it also removed a yellow dye from
its chicken soup and that the new recipe should be in all restaurants by the end
of this month.
It’s also testing a new peanut oil, with hopes of a rollout
early next year.
The changes come after blogger Vani Hari wrote a post in
2011 titled “Chick-fil-A or Chemical Fil-A?” on her site, FoodBabe.com.
It noted that the chain’s sandwich had nearly 100
ingredients, including peanut oil with TBHQ, a chemical made from butane. Hari,
based in Charlotte, N.C., continued writing about Chick-fil-A’s ingredients.
Then last year, the company invited her to its headquarters
to spend the day talking with executives.
“They took my concerns and started developing a road map of
how to address them,” Hari said.
She said she recently was notified about the changes in an
email from the company.
Ingredients in packaged and fast foods are coming under
greater scrutiny as more people look to stick to diets they feel are natural.
Last year, for instance, PepsiCo Inc. said it would remove a
controversial ingredient from Gatorade in response to customer demand, and Kraft
Foods recently confirmed to the AP that it was reformulating select varieties of
its macaroni and cheese to remove artificial dyes.
Still, companies typically don’t like publicizing such
changes because it could bring unwanted attention over other ingredients or
other products. Chick-fil-A, for instance, hasn’t made any announcements about
its recently reformulated products.
Jodie Worrell, who works in Chick-fil-A product strategy and
development, confirmed the changes in an interview and said the company has been
working on improving the ingredients in its foods for several years, starting
with the removal of trans fats. High-fructose corn syrup was also recently
removed from other dressings.
“We’ve been systemically going through (the menu),” she
David Farmer, vice president of product strategy and
development, noted that Chick-fil-A likely would keep making changes.
“More and more these days, we’ve become a kind of food
culture. People seem to care a lot more about what’s in it, how it’s made and
where did it come from,” he said.
Chick-fil-A, based in Atlanta, has more than 1,700 locations
in 39 states and Washington, D.C.
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