Nestle announced Tuesday it is removing artificial flavoring and coloring from all of its chocolate candy products, promising that such favorites as Butterfinger, Nestle Crunch, and Baby Ruth bars will be all natural by the middle of the year.
Doreen Ida, president of Nestle USA Confection & Snacks, said in a statement
that the company was responding to the Americans moving away from artificial flavoring to natural sources of food.
"Nestle is the world's leading nutrition, health and wellness company and our commitment to remove artificial flavors and certified colors in our chocolate candy brands is an important milestone," Ida 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," Ida continued.
The announcement comes as some parents started to organize to try to get candy companies to get rid of artificial flavors and coloring, charging that they cause hyperactivity in children. A Change.org petition
started by Renee Shutters trying to force Mars Chocolate to drop its artificial coloring and flavoring from M&Ms has gathered more than 167,500 signatures.
"M&M's are already made without most of those dyes in Europe so I don't understand why they are being made with cheaper, controversial ingredients in North America," Shutters wrote in her Change.org petition.
Andrew Adesman, a spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, told National Public Radio that the effects artificial dyes
have on children are not conclusive.
"I think there's a growing body of research that shows that artificial food colorings can affect a child's behavior," he said. "On the other hand, these effects are relatively modest."
Leslie Mohr, nutrition, health and wellness manager at Nestle, said in the company statement that while the swap in ingredients will cause a reformatting in formulas for some of the bars, customers will not be disappointed in the results.
"We never compromise on taste," Mohr said. "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 No. 1 priority."
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