Artificial Out, Innovation In

Many of the world’s biggest food companies announced major changes this year — in what they purchase and how they manufacture their food.

Some companies signaled to customers that they were “cleaning up” and simplifying their ingredient lists. Paneraditched dozens of additives. Even Lucky Charms and Butterfingers are getting minor makeovers: General Mills and Nestle said they’re removing artificial colors and flavors from their products.

“Big Food is definitely feeling the pressure,” Scott Allmendinger, who consults with food companies for the Culinary Institute of America, told us. Packaged-food companies lost $4 billion in market share last year, according to a Fortuneanalysis.

A 2015 Nielsen survey found an increasing number of consumers say they’re willing to pay a premium for “all natural,” “clean” and minimally processed foods. (As we’ve reported, it’s hard to know what any of these terms actually mean. The federal government is soliciting input for how to define “natural.”)