Consumers demand healthier ingredients
April 10, 2015
Originally published on USA TODAY
Consumer demand for healthier and more natural ingredients is prompting a growing number of corporate giants, including Hershey and McDonald’s, to overhaul iconic products they sell, a trend industry watchers say is just getting started.
The shift toward simpler ingredients has gained momentum the past few years as people become more interested in knowing what’s in the food they eat and don’t hesitate to air their concerns on social media. Major retailers such as Walmart, Costco and Whole Foods, cognizant of what consumers want, have pushed food producers to make sweeping changes to the products they supply to them.
Food manufactures have started responding by replacing artificial colors and flavors with natural ingredients to create what the industry calls a “cleaner label.” Other companies have removed genetically modified ingredients from their products, supplied pork and chicken raised under conditions viewed by some as more humane, and shunned animals given antibiotics also administered to humans.
“I think it’s really just the beginning. It’s only going to get more intense,” said Ken Cook, the president and co-founder of the non-profit Environmental Working Group. “This is still the country where the customer is always right. I think companies rushing to clean up their labels to respond to consumer demand, like McDonald’s and others, that’s an indication of the direction.”
In February, Nestlé USA, a division of Switzerland food giant Nestlé S.A., announced it will remove artificial flavors and colors from more than 250 chocolate products by the end of the year.
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