Photo Credit:  Dat Nguyen, Flickr

Photo Credit: Dat Nguyen, Flickr

I love candy! I love all types of candy. My dentist can attest that I may have a slight candy addiction – just kidding. Halloween was always my favorite holiday growing up. From bite-sized candies to king-sized bars, I always had sweets on hand. So when I heard that Nestlé USA is committing to remove artificial flavors and FDA-certified colors (like Red 40-Eek!) from its chocolate candy, I was excited. Honestly, my love of candy spans decades and I’m not alone. According to Retailing Today, the candy (confectionery) industry increased their sales to a record $33.6 billion in 2013.

They are doing pretty well…

This multi-billion dollar industry has been keeping sweets on the shelves, dentist offices busy, and my stomach full… But there’s a sour side to this industry that’s all about sweets.

In the last 50 years, the amount of synthetic dye used in foods has increased by 500%. Excessive consumption has been linked to hyperactivity, organ damage, and in some cases cancer. With all of this information, it is no surprise that 60% of Americans said that they’d rather purchase products free of artificial coloring or flavoring.

Nestlé USA had sales of 10 billion dollars in 2013 and has been listed (for 17 years!) as one of Fortune magazine’s “The World’s Most Admired Food Companies.” We wrote about artificial dyes last week here and it is great to see a major company like Nestlé take a step in the right direction.

Photo Credit: Schoko Riegel, Flickr

Photo Credit: Schoko Riegel, Flickr

So what does this mean?

  • By the end of 2015, more than 250 products and 10 brands including NESTLE® CRUNCH®, BUTTERFINGER®, BABY RUTH®, SKINNY COW®, RAISINETS®, SNO CAPS®, 100 GRAND® and CHUNKY® will be free of artificial flavors and certified colors.
  • Products will be identified by a “No Artificial Flavors or Colors” claim featured on the packaging.
  • Nestlé is going to replace the artificial flavors and colors with natural ingredients. For example: in CRUNCH®, natural vanilla flavor will replace artificial vanillin.
  • All newly launched chocolate and non-chocolate candy products (gummies, sours, etc.) introduced by Nestlé USA will be made without artificial flavors or colors.

Check out Nestlé USA’s full press release here.

Hopefully more companies will step up and we hope Nestlé will consider finding less toxic ways to package their products. There’s a lot of work to do but each step towards becoming a safer is definitely worth it.