In a Dallas Morning News article in today’s Business Section titled “Iffy ingredients being tossed out”, the author posits that companies are changing products as consumers look closer at labels.
“As Americans pay closer attention to what they eat, food and beverage companies are learning that unfamiliar ingredients can invite criticism from online petitions and bloggers. The risk of damaging publicity has proved serious enough that some manufacturers have reformulated top-selling products to remove mysterious, unpronounceable components that could draw suspicion.”
Examples: PepsiCo removed brominated vegetable oil from Gatorade. An online petition had noted the ingredient’s link to flame retardants. The company said the decision was the result of broader customer feedback.
Kraft Foods plans on reformulating select varieties of its mac and cheese in 2014 to use natural colors. This is the result of a food blogger who started a petition to remove artificial dyes.
Starbucks removed cochineal extract, a red dye made from crushed bugs, from its food and drinks in 2012 due to an online petition.
The take away? Reading food labels is not just a benefit to the family you shop for, but for the larger food consumer as well. So take your magnifying glass with you, even when you go to Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Central Market! Just because the large print says “organic” or “natural” doesn’t mean all the ingredients included are things you want in your stomach.