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Nestle to remove artificial colors, flavors from chocolates

Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups.
Source: Nestle
Nestle Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups.

Nestle USA will remove all artificial flavors and colors from its chocolate products by the end of the year as consumers increasingly move toward products with more natural ingredients, the food producer said Tuesday.

The change will affect more than 250 products across 10 brands, including Butterfinger, Nestle Crunch and Baby Ruth.

More than 60 percent of Americans say no artificial colors or flavors is important to their food purchase decisions, according to the company's internal research.

"We know that candy consumers are interested in broader food trends around fewer artificial ingredients," Nestle USA Confections & Snacks President Doreen Ida said in a statement. "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,"

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The new products, which will include a "no artificial flavors or colors" label on the package, will begin rolling out by mid-2015.

The candy manufacturer will replace all artificial flavors and colors with ingredients from natural sources. For example, Butterfinger bars will now contain annatto, which comes from the seeds found in the fruit from the achiote tree, instead of red 40 and yellow 5, and Crunch bars will now use natural vanilla instead of artificial vanillin, according to the statement.

Nestle said it conducted consumer testing to ensure the new recipe "delivers on our high standards for taste and appearance."

In addition, Nestle is "actively pursuing" the removal of caramel coloring, which it says is "exempt-from-certification color additive, which is used in only nine of the more than 250 chocolate products."