Posted on 16 February 2016.
Mars has announced that it will remove all artificial colours from its human food products as part of a commitment to meet evolving consumer demands.
Though many of the company’s products are already free of artificial colours, by expanding the scope of the effort to its entire human food portfolio, Mars says it is making a commitment of significant depth and breadth. Products across the range of the company’s chocolate, gum, confection, food and drink businesses will be affected by the change, which will take place incrementally over the next five years.
According to Mars, artificial colours pose no known risks to human health or safety, but consumers today are calling on food manufacturers to use more natural ingredients in their products. Against this backdrop, Mars said it will work closely with its suppliers to find alternatives that not only meet the its strict quality and safety standards, but also maintain the vibrant, fun colours consumers have come to expect from the company’s brands.
“We’re in the business of satisfying and delighting the people who love our products,” said Grant F. Reid, President and CEO of Mars, Incorporated. “Eliminating all artificial colours from our human food portfolio is a massive undertaking, and one that will take time and hard work to accomplish. Our consumers are the boss and we hear them. If it’s the right thing to do for them, it’s the right thing to do for Mars.”
Today, Mars says it uses a variety of naturally sourced and artificial colours in its global product portfolio. Depending on consumer preferences, ingredient availability and local regulations, slightly different formulations and products may exist in different markets. However, all ingredients used by the company are claimed to be safe, and manufactured in compliance with Mars’ own strict internal quality and safety requirements and the requirements established by food safety regulators globally, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Removing all artificial colours from a human food portfolio that features more than 50 brands represents a complex challenge, the company said. Mars’ strategy includes partnering with suppliers to identify new ingredients and formulas that meet its rigid safety and quality standards, addressing all legal and regulatory requirements, and creating accessible ways to gather input and feedback from consumers throughout the reformulation process. The company believes the process of developing alternative colours, ensuring their safety and quality, obtaining regulatory approval, and introducing the new ingredients across the entirety of its human food portfolio around the world will take about five years.
Mars, Incorporated is an American global manufacturer of confectionery, pet food, and other food products with US$ 33 billion in annual sales in 2015. Mars operates in six business segments around the World: Chocolate (Hackettstown, New Jersey), Petcare (Brussels, Belgium), Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company (Chicago, Illinois), Food (Rancho Dominguez, California), Drinks (West Chester, Pennsylvania), and Symbioscience (Germantown, Maryland), the company’s life sciences division.