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Twitter chat: What’s behind the push to remove artificial ingredients from restaurant menus?

Chipotle Becomes First Non-GMO US Restaurant ChainLast week, Panera Bread announced that it will be removing more than 150 artificial ingredients from the items on its menu. The restaurant chain follows Chipotle and Kraft as the latest company to jump on the menu-makeover bandwagon.

Allison Aubrey, who covers food and nutrition for NPR, and Michael Moss, author of the book “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us,” recently joined Gwen Ifill to discuss some of the forces driving this trend.

“The reason why these companies are making these changes now is that they’re talking to their customers, and consumer sentiment has really changed,” Aubrey told Ifill.

“Much of what this is about are these food giants trying to regain the trust of customers who are caring more and more about what they put in their bodies and caring less and less for some of the strategies we have seen from the processed food industry over the years,” Moss agreed.

To what degree is consumer pressure contributing to brands’ decisions to strike artificial additives, GMOs and more from their menus and ingredients lists? What factors sparked the natural food revolution? How great are the health risks posed by these ingredients, and what is the impact (both economic and in terms of taste) of these changes?

We discussed this topic with Aubrey (@AubreyNPRFood) and Moss (@MichaelMossC) on Twitter. Read a transcript of the conversation below.

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