Slideshow: Better-for-you changes at Q.S.R.s

by Monica Watrous
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ATLANTA — Chick-fil-A has announced plans to banish high-fructose corn syrup and artificial dyes from some of its menu items.

The chicken chain said it has removed yellow dye from its chicken soup recipe and is testing dressings and sauces without high-fructose corn syrup, buns without artificial ingredients and peanut oil without tert-Butylhydroquinone, an artificial preservative.

Slideshow: Better-for-you changes at Q.S.R.s.

Earlier this year, Chick-fil-A unveiled new better-for-you options, including salads and a wrap, and added calorie counts to its menu boards nationwide. The chain also said it was working to reduce sodium across its menu, including a 40% sodium reduction in its chargrilled chicken filet, 25% less sodium in bread and 10% less sodium in dressings and sauces.

The move to improve the health profile of its products follows similar initiatives in the quick-service industry this year. Chipotle Mexican Grill began removing bioengineered ingredients from its menu items by swapping different oils, and Long John Silver’s began dropping trans fats. McDonald’s and Taco Bell both pledged nutrition goals to achieve by 2020.

“Leading chains are trying to align with consumers’ changing expectations for health,” said Mary Chapman, director of product innovation for Technomic, Inc, a Chicago-based food service market research firm. “McDonald’s, for example, rolled out new menu boards with calorie counts to stay ahead of nutrition-disclosure legislation. Other major Q.S.R.s are creating lighter, better-for-you options in order to keep up with consumers’ demands for having these options available to them.”

Click for a slideshow of the year’s health-driven highlights in the fast-food industry.

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