“We know that candy consumers are interested in broader food trends around fewer artificial ingredients,” Nestle USA Confections and Snacks President Doreen Ida said in the statement. “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.”
The company cited Nielsen’s 2014 Global Health and Wellness Survey, which found that more than 60 percent of Americans said the absence of artificial ingredients was important to them when searching for something to satisfy their sweet tooth.
Nestle said it is replacing artificial ingredients with natural ones. Butterfinger’s Red 40 and Yellow 5, for instance, will be swapped out for annatto, a popular food coloring that comes from seeds from the achiote tree, according to the company. The Crunch bar’s vanillin flavor will be replaced with actual vanilla.
“We conducted consumer testing to ensure the new recipe delivers on our high standards for taste and appearance,” Leslie Mohr, the company’s nutrition, health and wellness manager, said in the statement.
Nestle’s British arm implemented the move between 2005 and 2012, an initiative that was led by U.S. company head Paul Grimwood. He is now pushing the issue in the United States, a company spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.
Up next will be the company’s gummy and sour sweets such as SweeTARTS and Nerds, though those candies are tougher candidates because their bright colors are more challenging to match, according to the newspaper.
In December, Hershey announced it, too, was trying to get healthier, transitioning from high-fructose corn syrup to real sugar in some products. However, it’s still in the early stages of the move toward more nutritious sweets.
“The companies that are improving their products are going to reap the rewards,” Hank Cardello, director of the Obesity Solutions Initiative at the Hudson Institute, told MarketWatch. “Companies are doing something in their enlightened self-interest.”
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