Ma Bella Vita: Love chocolate bars? You may love them a little more after you read this

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Love chocolate bars? You may love them a little more after you read this

Good day sunshine.

Another early morning for me. Had time to prep myself some breakfast and read a bit of the paper before starting work today:

Cinnamon-raisin whole wheat English muffin & some avocado, boiled eggs, cafe w/ soy milk.

I read a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal yesterday and feel the need to share.

As a lover of chocolate (who isn't?!) I was happy to see chocolate executives appear to be listening to the new wave of health-conscious consumers-- the consumer that makes a legit effort to eat less processed foods and  be a bit healthier, without having to fully sacrifice the flavor of things we know and love.

This week Nestle announced that by the end of the year they will completely eliminate artificial flavors and colors from their most popular chocolate bars which include Nestle Crunch, Butterfingers and other popular flavors. For example, the company will replace the artificial flavor 'Vanillin' from it's crunch bar with actual natural vanilla flavors. They'll also replace the artificial food coloring from Butterfinger with actual 'Annatto'-- which is a natural fruit which comes from the seed of Achiote trees.

Despite the fact that the company admits this new strategy to make chocolate bars less processed will require more operating costs for Nestle; they will not be raising prices.

The article explains that it may be easier for Nestle to carry this out as it is a small company which has about 5% of the 'chocolate bar makers' market share. To put this in to perspective, bigger companies such as the infamous Hershey's and Mars own a whooping 65% of the market combined. Sometimes it is more difficult for larger companies to implement such changes as it can become increasingly costly and cumbersome. Nonetheless, this doesn't mean these companies wont be following the same footsteps.

As a matter of fact, this past December, Hershey announced their plans to replace High Fructose Corn Syrup with actual sugar in all its candies. Mars (makers of M&Ms) also indicated that, although the food coloring in the famous candy is deemed 'safe', they are exploring the possibilities of using natural colors in the future. Neither Mars nor Hershey have specified specific deadlines for said changes to take place.

After Nestle is done with 'reinventing' their chocolate bar ingredients they are said to move on to also making changes in the ingredients of other products such as Nerds and SweeTARTS, which they also own. As many of you may have heard; the issue with artificial flavoring is not simply that is artificial but that it seems to trigger allergic reactions and hypertension in some children and adults. Not to mention we are putting 'fake' stuff in our bodies with every piece of deliciously made chocolate we pop in to our mouths.

Although the argument that popular food coloring such as 'RED40' is not good for us has been around for a very long time; truth of the matter is that the ingredient has been used for many years and has been deemed safe by the FDA.So my question is, is it the artificial flavors that are making kids hyperactive? would natural sugars in candy change this? Something worth exploring for all health-conscious moms out there or simply health-conscious lovers of chocolate like myself.

Have an amazing day!

Tell me, what are your thoughts on artificial colors or flavors? Would you feel better about eating these standard chocolate bars if you knew their ingredients were more natural?

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