Nestlé have become the first major confectioner in the UK to remove all artificial flavours, colours and preservatives from their products.
Chocolate favourites including Smarties, Rowntree’s and Quality Street have had their recipes changed to ensure natural ingredients are used instead.
Nestlé Crunch was the last of the company’s 79 products to have its artificial ingredients replaced with fruit, vegetable and edible plant alternatives including carrot, lemon, hibiscus and radish.
It marks the end of an extensive six-year programme for the company that started with Milkybar and Smarties in 2005.
Blue Smarties were discontinued in 2006 as part of a drive to rid sweets of artificial ingredients but the popular colouring was re-introduced two years later after researchers found a natural blue colouring from a seaweed called spirulina.
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Nestlé said the change was a response to the rise in health-conscious consumers searching for fewer chemical ingredients in their foods.
Research conducted by the company revealed that three quarters (74 per cent) of UK consumers now look for natural ingredients when buying confectionery.
David Rennie, managing director of 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 per cent 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 UK Food Standards Agency have not banned the use of artificial additives in sweet products but are encouraging other confectionery companies that use suspect dyes in their foods and drinks to think about using natural alternatives in their recipes too.