Artificial: Public Enemy No. 1

Artificial ingredients have become more taboo than ever among the surging demographic of health-conscious consumers today. In response, more major food companies have announced plans to remove artificial ingredients, from Kellogg, and Campbell to Hershey and Nestle.

“It’s really become more of an expectation that a product is going to be natural versus something that’s just nice to have,” said Jenny Zegler, global food and drink analyst at Mintel.

Companies have already followed through, with Hershey releasing its Kisses and milk chocolate bars without artificial flavors in time for the holiday push. Others have self-imposed deadlines over the next few years. These changes are likely to take time, particularly when reformulating products can impact the flavors consumers have come to expect. Being proactive is key.

“That announcement in itself is really good to showcase to consumers that [manufacturers] are responding to the things that [consumers] want and understand their sentiments,” said Zegler. “But just that announcement, that you’re being proactive, really does go a long way with consumers.”

While this trend is mainstreaming in North America, it is already well established in Europe and Australia, while Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia are still seeing this trend emerge.