Nestle to drop artificial flavors, colors from chocolate candy

Posted at 7:36 PM, Feb 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-02-18 19:38:47-05

Baby Ruth is going au natural.

Nestle announced Tuesday that it’s dropping artificial colors and flavors from its chocolate candies by altering 75 recipes.

The reformulated treats, which include staples like Butterfinger, Crunch bars and Baby Ruth, will begin appearing in stores by mid-year.

“We know that candy consumers are interested in broader food trends around fewer artificial ingredients,” said Nestle USA president Doreen Ida, in a statement. “We’re excited to be the first major U.S. candy manufacturer to make this commitment.”

The crunchy center of the Butterfinger bar will be colored with annatto (part of a seed) instead of Red 40 and Yellow 5. Real vanilla flavor will replace the substitute vanillin in Crunch bars.

Artificial colors and flavors must receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration before they can go on the market.

Reactions to food additives are rare, according to the FDA, but they can happen. For example, Yellow 5 can cause irritation in some people.

“Food and color additives are strictly studied, regulated and monitored. Federal regulations require evidence that each substance is safe at its intended level of use before it may be added to foods,” the FDA said on its website.

According to a Nielsen study, 60 percent of Americans want to eat more natural, fresh foods. About the same number of people said they wanted to cut down on chocolate and sweets, too.

Gavin Stern is a national digital producer for the Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter at @GavinStern.