Nestlé USA to remove all artificial colours and flavours from chocolate

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 25th February 2015
Nestlé USA to remove all artificial colours and flavours from chocolate
Nestlé USA to remove all artificial colours and flavours from chocolate

Global confectionery company Nestle has announced it will remove artificial flavours and FDA-certified colours, such as Red 40 and Yellow 5, from all of its chocolate confectionery products in the US by the end of 2015.

Nestle USA said more than 250 products and 10 brands, including Nestle Butterfinger, Crunch and Baby Ruth will be free of artificial flavours and certified colours. Products will begin appearing on store shelves in the US by mid-2015, and will be identified by a “No Artificial Flavours or Colours” claim featured on the pack.

Nestlé USA, with 2013 sales of $10 billion, is part of Nestlé S.A. in Vevey, Switzerland — the world’s largest food company with a commitment to Nutrition, Health & Wellness — with 2013 sales of $99 billion. In Australia, Nestlé Australia operates as a subsidiary of Nestlé Oceania. The Company employs more than 6,000 people, operates 12 factories, 5 distribution centres and 20 offices across the Oceania region – taking in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

“Nestlé 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,” said Doreen Ida, president, Nestlé USA Confections & Snacks.

“We know that candy consumers are interested in broader food trends around fewer artificial ingredients,” Ms Ida said. “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 US candy manufacturer to make this commitment,” she said.

Research showed consumers prefer ‘no artificial flavours and colours’

Ms Ida said Nestlé USA conducted research on brands such as Butterfinger, which indicated that US consumers preferred candy brands they know to be free from artificial flavours and colours. Further, findings from Nielsen’s 2014 Global Health & Wellness Survey showed more than 60 per cent of US consumers said no artificial colours or flavours was important to their food purchase decisions.

Replaced with ingredients from ‘natural’ sources

Nestlé USA said it would achieve its commitment by removing artificial flavours and colours, and replacing them with ingredients from natural sources. For example, in the Butterfingers product’s crunchy centre, annatto, which comes from the seeds found in the fruit from the achiote tree, will replace Red 40 and Yellow 5. In the Crunch product, ‘natural vanilla flavor’ will replace artificial vanillin.

“We never compromise on taste,” said Leslie Mohr, nutrition, health and wellness manager, Nestlé Confections & Snacks. “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 priority,” she said.

Ms Mohr said Nestle USA conducted consumer testing to “ensure the new recipe delivers on our high standards for taste and appearance”.

Ms Mohr said the change will affect Nestlé’s current portfolio of chocolate brands including Nestle Crunch, Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, Skinny Cow, Raisinets, Goobers, Sno Caps, 100 Grand, Oh Henry and Chunky. All newly launched chocolate and non-chocolate candy products (gummies, sours, etc.) introduced by Nestlé USA will be made without artificial flavors or colors. Additionally, Nestlé USA said it was actively pursuing the removal of caramel coloring from its chocolate products. Caramel coloring is an exempt-from-certification color additive, and is currently used in only nine of the more than 250 chocolate products.

Nestle Australia confectionery changes

In Australia, Nestle has made similar moves in recent years to remove artificial colours from its products.

Nestle Australia spokesperson Anita Catalano told Australian Food News that Nestle’s Allen’s range of confectionery as well as its chocolate products such as Smarties and Kit Kat have been “free from artificial colours for some time now”.

“On top of the removal of artificial colours we have also been implementing a program of responsible consumption and portion control as one step in helping people balance their diet,” Ms Catalano told Australian Food News.

“We are introducing single serves and re-sealable bags across our confectionery range to allow the treats to be saved and eaten later,” Ms Catalano said. “We have also resized some confectionery products such as our Allen’s Killer Python to make them more appropriate portion sizes,” she said.

Ms Catalano said Nestle Australia had also been progressively implementing “on-pack education”, which includes visual portion guidance icons that illustrate how much of that product is one serve.