My favorite junk food–chocolate–will now be a bit healthier! I know not everyone thinks chocolate is junk food; for some chocolate is an essential part of their diet but for me, it is junk food . Therefore, I was elated to hear that Nestle USA has made a commitment to removing artificial flavors and U.S. FDA-certified colors such as Red 40 and Yellow 5, from all of their chocolate candy products by the end of 2015.
This move affects products such as NESTLE® CRUNCH®, BUTTERFINGER®, BABY RUTH®, SKINNY COW®, RAISINETS®, GOOBERS®, SNO CAPS®, 100 GRAND®, OH HENRY® and CHUNKY®. The company will change the recipe to replace artificial favors and colors with natural alternatives; for example, in their CRUNCH® product, artificial vanillin will be replaced with natural vanilla flavor. They are also in the process of removing caramel coloring, which has been linked to to causing cancer in lab rats and mice, from their products. This change will affect more than 250 Nestle products, and, by the end of 2015, they will be labeled as “No Artificial Flavors or Colors.” Nestle is the first U.S. candy manufacturer to make this type of a change.
Nestle has picked up on the consumer trend of buying healthier products. In their press release, the company stated that “Nestlé USA conducted research on brands like BUTTERFINGER®, which indicates that U.S. consumers prefer candy brands they know and love to be free from artificial flavors and colors.” (Link to press release).
Well, there you have it: Nestle may be the first chocolate company to start this movement but I have a feeling that many others will follow suit.
Artificial Flavors, Colorings, Flavorants, and Preservatives
Speaking of artificial flavors and colors, these additives are substances added to food products to preserve flavor or enhance its taste, texture, and appearance. With the advent of processed foods, many more additives are being used, both natural and artificial. Additives can maintain product quality and freshness (to stop deterioration, rancidity, and spoilage); improve or maintain the nutritional quality (to prevent diseases such as goiter, pellagra and rickets); make foods more appealing (make them look and taste good); and aid in the processing and preparation of foods.
Food colorings (also called color additives), are any dyes, pigments, or substances that are used to impart color when they are added to food or drink. Colorants are used to enhance colors that occur naturally, correct natural variation in color, and to make food more attractive and appetizing. Colorants are also used to offset the loss of color due to processing and storage.
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A flavorant is defined as an additive, either artificial or natural, that is used to give foods and beverages flavor. Flavorants include chemicals that can impart or enhance a particular taste e.g., sweet, sour, tangy, savory, or bitter.
Artificial preservatives are man-made. They are used in foods to prevent undesirable chemical changes, reduce the risk of food-borne infections, decrease microbial spoilage, and preserve fresh attributes and nutritional quality.
Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry Applications
We recently published an 111-page compendium of chromatography methods, titled, New Flavors, Colorants and Additives Analysis Applications Notebook which highlights many of the food additives that you may find in many a commercial chocolate product including soft drinks, beverages, packaged foods, and more.
My favorite junk food is on its way of becoming a health food; have a look at the compendium and see what’s in your favorite junk food!
Let us know if your application is not covered in the compendium; we will be happy to assist you.