Nestlé Pledges to Remove Artificial Colors and Flavors

Don't have a yellow #5, man.

butterfinger“Don’t lay a finger on my Red 40.”

That’s totally the tag line, no? Well, it could be; if you take a peek at the label of Bart Simpson’s favorite candy bar, you’ll find that artificial colors are responsible for Butterfinger‘s iconic orange center.

That won’t be true much longer, though.

In an environment in which increasingly ingredient-conscious consumers are seeking more natural snack options, Nestlé announced that it will be removing artificial colors and flavors from 250 of its products across 10 brands.

For instance, the Red 40 and Yellow 5 used to make the crunchy center of a Butterfinger will be replaced by color from annatto seeds, while Nestlé Crunch products will begin using real vanilla flavor instead of artificial vanillin.

The company plans to roll out the revamped products by the middle of this year, and customers will be alerted to the change by packaging that boasts “No Artificial Flavors of Colors.”

Nestlé is also investigating the potential replacement of caramel coloring found in a few of its products. While caramel coloring is exempt from FDA certification and therefore isn’t technically classified as “artificial,” some types have been found to contain high levels of 4-Methylimidazole (4-MEI), a possible carcinogen.

We know that candy consumers are interested in broader food trends around fewer artificial ingredients,” said Doreen Ida, president, Nestlé USA Confections & Snacks. “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.”

In other words, the products in question are still candy, so it’s clear the company isn’t targeting the super health-conscious; they are trying to reach candy lovers and parents of candy-craving kids who want to feel a little less guilty about indulging…and people who spend hours Googling “GMOs.”

While we imagine the changes will be welcome, Bart Simpson has not responded to our requests for comment.