Food industry is caving to consumer demands for natural ingredients

It can be hard to avoid all artificial ingredients, but the food industry is slowly starting to respond to consumers' demands. Natural ingredients are increasing in availability.

Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters/File
Various kinds of pumpkins, out of some 400 on display grown this season, are seen on sale at Franzlbauer farm in Hintersdorf, Austria, October 27, 2015. Consumers are demanding natural ingredients in food.

In his Six Rules for Eating Wisely, author Michael Pollan cautions against consuming foods that our great-great-great grandmothers wouldn’t recognize. However, that’s often easier said than done.

While a 2015 Nielsen survey indicates that an increasing number of Americans want fresh, natural, and minimally processed foods, Azodicarbonamide, also known as the yoga mat chemical, has been identified in almost 500 food products. Still, the tides are turning as fast casual restaurants, fast food chains, and even multinationals are responding to pressure, especially from Millennials, for food made without artificial ingredients.

In 2013, industry leader Chipotle became the first restaurant chain to indicate which items on their menu contained genetically modified (GM) ingredients. Today, the company is currently working on improving their tortilla to remove propionic and benzoic acid, two preservatives used to inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria. Similarly, by the end of 2016, bakery chain Panera Bread will eliminate all artificial preservatives, sweeteners, colors, and flavors identified on their No No List. Some examples include nitrates and nitrites, titanium dioxide (used to add brightness to cheese), and aluminum potassium sulfate.
Faced with lagging sales, fast food chains are making changes to prevent falling further behind. Taco Bell will remove artificial preservatives and additives “where possible” by the end of 2017 while McDonald’s has reduced the number of ingredients in its grilled chicken breast from 18 to 12. Multinationals such as General Mills and Kraft are also following suit, with the cereal brand planning to use fruit and vegetable juices instead of green and blue dyes in Trix. Starting in 2016, Kraft macaroni and cheese eaters will seeannatto seed and paprika extract replace Yellow No. 5 and 6.
As industry standards for transparency in the supply chain continue to evolve, consumers can consult the Environmental Working Group’s Food Scores database for information on nutrition, ingredient, and processing concerns in more than 80,000 foods.

This article first appeared at Food Tank.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Food industry is caving to consumer demands for natural ingredients
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/Business/The-Bite/2015/1104/Food-industry-is-caving-to-consumer-demands-for-natural-ingredients
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe