David Jago, Mintel’s director of innovation, told FoodManufacture.co.uk that Nestlé’s announcement was “a wake-up call” for the market to continue improving products. He acknowledged the work that many firms were already doing, but said he expected further steps to be taken in the future.
He said: “I think this is part of an on-going move from the UK confectionery market. I think as this involves a firm the size of Nestléand some very high-profile brands, it should give the market more impetus to get on with it.
“It is a wake-up call for the industry but I think companies could and should still go further.”
Jago said that many firms could still do more to explain and help consumers to understand exactly what is in their products.
“Increased information, such as back of pack labelling is one way of doing this,” he added.
Nestlé’s claim was announced today (March 2) after it revealed that all of its 79 products were now free from artificial ingredients. The news follows an extensive R&D programme that started in 2005.
Concentrates of fruit and vegetables such as carrot, radish and lemon would now be used to colour products such as Smarties and other Nestlé products, the firm revealed.
David Rennie, md Nestlé Confectionery UK, said: “This is a significant milestone. Nestlé is proud to be the only major confectionery company in the UK to announce it is 100% free of artificial preservatives, flavours or colours across the entire portfolio.
“To achieve this, Nestlé Confectionery and our suppliers have worked very hard ensuring we don’t compromise and we maintain the same quality and taste of all our brands.”
The changes were made in response to consumers demanding fewer artificial ingredients in their foods and a commitment by Nestlé Confectionery to find alternatives to artificial colours, flavours and preservatives.
The changes were made after latest research showed that consumers were increasingly looking for more healthy ingredients in their snacks.
74% of consumers now look for natural ingredients within products, according to the research.
Marcelo Melchior, head of the global confectionery strategic business unit Nestlé SA, said: “While pleasure will always be our priority for confectionery, a responsible approach towards our portfolio will help us to be recognised as offering the confectionery brands consumers feel good about purchasing.”
In 2010, Nestlé also confirmed that it would stop buying palm oil from suppliers involved with plantations or farms that were contributing to deforestation.
The firm said it had set a goal to ensure that all of the palm oil it uses would come from sustainable sources by 2015.