It's been a long time coming, and the road to get where we are has been hard fought; but we aren't there yet. There, is the place where all processed foods are made with healthy natural ingredients. There, is an ideal, a concept, a wish, a dream. But, every week it seems that more and more big food companies bow to the pressure that consumers exert with their spending dollars and conform to that ideal of cleaner safer foods. For the last five years the largest growth in the food industry has been in organic foods. Double digit growth. In a few instances, triple digit. Sales amongst the traditional food processors has been stagnant, or in so many cases, declining. Big business can't survive when small industries show the giants that they can make big money by making clean products designed to encourage the growing mass of consumers that desire better foods for themselves and their families.
Last week, Campbell's Soups announced that they will stop adding MSG and artificial colors to their soups.
Earlier this year there have been a number of announcements to break the traditions of money over health.
Chipotle Restaurants announced they will not use any products that contain GMO ingredients
Kraft foods acquiesced to consumer pressure and announced the removal of all coal tar dies from Mac and Cheese products
Subway Restaurants announced they would remove Azodicarbonamide from all their breads
White Wave and Horizon Dairies agreed to remove carragenan from all their products
Panera Restaurants announced they will remove all artificial ingredients from their products
Papa John's and Taco Bell both announced the removal of all artificial ingredients including corn syrup
Chik-Fil-A will remove High Fructose Corn Syrup from the buns used for sandwiches.
And yes, even McDonald's has pledged to REDUCE the amount of antibiotics used in production of chickens, nothing else, but hey, it's a start
And finally, Nestle Corporation. Nestle is the largest food manufacturer in the world. They recently announced that they would remove the artificial colors in about 250 of their candies. Three years ago they stunned a very very very small part of the world with the announcement that was not carried by any major or minor media outlet, that they would no longer, er, well, encourage, the use of child slavery in the production of cacao in the country of Ivory Coast. Now again, Cote de Ivory only produces twenty percent of the chocolate for Nestle and so far they have not announced any plans to enforce the ban on child slavery anywhere else, but hey, it's a start.
All of these things have come about because of consumer demand. Some from actual petition drives with hundreds of thousands of people signing petitions to show these giant companies that a few cents difference in price to make a healthier product is where they will spend their food dollars. The rest are just big companies realizing that it's the right thing to do. And then there's Papa John, jumping on the bandwagon because his chain is in last place and maybe it will help. But for whatever reason, it's a start.
Oh, and one of the biggest news items ever, the FDA has officially removed partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, from the GRAS list and all food manufacturers have until 2018 to remove them from all processed foods. Now that's something to celebrate. It took fifty years for the FDA to react, but it shows the food industry that some things do indeed, get done.