Mars Inc, the manufacturers of the vibrantly coloured button-shaped chocolates M&Ms, announced earlier in February that they would be phasing out artificial colours in its foods — including M&Ms — over a five-year period.
This decision comes following pressure from consumers on food manufacturing companies to use more natural ingredients in their products, says a Wall Street Journal report.
The chief executive of Mars Grant F. Reid, while insisting that artificial colors “pose no known risks to human health or safety,” admitted, “our consumers are the boss and we hear them. If it’s the right thing to do for them, it’s the right thing to do for Mars.”
The food industry giant said that it will still try to maintain the fun, vibrant colours that consumers love and expect, by working closely with suppliers.
According to The Wall Street Journal report, “the effort involves all of the company’s ‘human food’, including products such as Snickers, Twix and Uncle Ben’s.”
Joining the “clean label” trend
Mars’ pledge to phase out artificial additives from 50 of its food brands, is in line with the food industry’s “clean label” trend.
This involves major food industry companies promising to avoid the use of artificial flavours, dyes, colours and preservatives in their products.
Some of the companies that have also pledged to make similar changes include Kraft Foods, Nestle USA and Hershey Co., say Nasdaq and Care2 reports.
In 2015, Kraft Food Group Inc. said it would not use artifical preservatives or colouring in its Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (in the US) by 2016.
Also in 2015, Nestle SA pledged to remove all artificial colouring and flavouring from its candy by the end of the year.
Similarly, Hershey Co. announced it would start using simpler ingredients, such as locally-sourced fresh milk, in its products.
These decisions can be considered a win for consumers, as several studies — including a report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest — have pointed out the potential health risks of commonly used food dyes such as Red 40 and Yellow 5.
Read: Could these popular food items kids love to eat cause serious health issues?
Sources: Wall Street Journal, Nasdaq, Care2.
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