Earlier today when I wrote about the increase in demand for organic milk, I mentioned that food producers are starting to pay attention to what consumers want. The milk industry isn’t the only one making changes based on consumers interests. Today Nestlé announced it’s going to remove the artificial flavors and FDA-certified colors from all chocolate candy products by the end of 2015.

The change will affect 250 products and 10 brands including Butterfinger, Nestlé Crunch and Baby Ruth candy bars. By the middle of the year, consumers can expect to see packages of Nestlé products with the words “No Artificial Flavors or Colors” on them.

“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. 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.”

I’m scratching my head a little about the claim that Nestlé is the “world’s leading, nutrition, health and wellness company,” but I’m pleased that the company is making this change.

Examples of the changes to popular candies include replacing Red 40 and Yellow 5 in Butterfinger's center with annatto, a color produced from the fruit seeds of the achiote tree and replacing artificial vanilla in Nestlé Crunch bars with natural vanilla.

One color that won’t be affected by this specific change is caramel coloring that’s used in nine of the company’s chocolates. Caramel coloring “is an exempt-from-certification color additive.” Nestlé says it's actively pursuing the removal of caramel coloring. Recently, Newcastle Brown Ale announced it's removing caramel coloring from its beers due to consumer demand. The brown color of the beer will now be created from roasted malts, probably not something Nestlé can use in chocolate.

Of course, the removal of the artificial flavors and colors from the chocolate candy doesn’t suddenly turn these treats into health food. Still, it’s more evidence that consumers have the power to demand change and food producers are beginning to make the changes demanded. 

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Consumers convince Nestlé to remove artificial ingredients from chocolate
The artificial flavors and FDA-certified colors from all Nestlé's chocolate candy products will be gone by the end of 2015.