Nestlé says it will eliminate all artificial flavors and colors from its line of over 250 products including Nestlé Crunch, Butterfinger, 100 Grand, Oh Henry, and Baby Ruth chocolate bars - and customers won’t be able to tell the difference.
“We never compromise on taste. When making these changes to more than 75 recipes, maintaining the great taste and appearance consumers expect from the chocolate brands they know and love is our number one priority,” said Leslie Mohr, nutrition, health and wellness manager, Nestlé Confections & Snacks. “We conducted consumer testing to ensure the new recipe delivers on our high standards for taste and appearance.”
Butterfinger bars, which are yellow on the inside, will be colored with annatto rather than artificial colors like Yellow 5 and Red 40. Annatto is a seed or extract from the achiote tree, which is indigenous to South America. Its coloring can range from bright yellow to deep orange. The company will also replace artificial vanillin with real vanilla in its Nestlé Crunch bar. The candy maker has promised to drop all artificial ingredients from its line of candies. The reformulation will show up in U.S. stores by the summer.
“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,” Doreen Ida, president of Nestlé USA Confections & Snacks, said in a statement.
Nestlé says it’s the first large candy company in the world to make such a change. It says it’s responding to polls that show 60 percent of Americans say they want to avoid artificial colors and flavors in their purchasing decisions.
Caramel coloring, a food coloring used in caramel candies, is exempt from removal. The ingredient contains 4-methylimidazole (4-MeI), a potentially harmful ingredient the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently taking a closer look at, especially for its use in soda. However, Nestlé says it’s actively pursuing ways of removing the additive from the nine products it’s currently used in.
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Image: Dat Nguyen