Nestlé USA to ditch artificial colors and flavors

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Consumers demanding fewer artificial ingredients, says Nestlé
Consumers demanding fewer artificial ingredients, says Nestlé

Related tags Vanilla

Nestlé intends replace all artificial colors and flavors in confectionery sold in the US with ingredients from natural sources by the end of the year.

Products will start to carry on-pack “no artificial flavors and colors” claims by mid-2015.

Responding to consumer demands

The company will remove artificial colors and flavors from all chocolate and candy products, such as Butterfinger, Crunch and Baby Ruth.

Doreen Ida, president, Nestlé USA Confections & Snacks, said: “We know that candy consumers are interested in broader food trends around fewer artificial ingredients. As we thought about what this means for our candy brands, our first step has been to remove artificial flavors and colors without affecting taste or increasing the price. We’re excited to be the first major U.S. candy manufacturer to make this commitment.”

According to Nielsen’s 2014 Global Health & Wellness Survey, 60% of Americans say no artificial colors and flavors are important to their food purchasing choices.

Certain colors – the so called Southampton Six – were linked to hyperactivity in children in a study by the University of Southampton in 2007.

Reformulating with ‘natural’ colors

Nestlé will replace Red 40 and Yellow 5 in Butterfinger with annatto, which is derived from seeds in the fruit of achiote trees. Natural vanilla flavor will also replace artificial vanillin in Crunch. The company said the changes will not impact taste.

In 2012, Nestle UK removed all artificial colors and flavors​ in response to “consumer sentiment”.

Nestlé USA is also looking to remove caramel coloring in nine of its chocolate products. The US Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing the safety of caramel coloring​ after rat studies suggest a link to increased cancer risk. The FDA says that there is no immediate or short term danger posed by caramel coloring and 4-MEI, a chemical compound found in the color.

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