A growing trend in food packaging seems to be using the words “all natural” to describe ingredients. This is meant to be an improvement over the previous “completely artificial” ingredients that have been used for decades. However, as some point out, the use of natural ingredients doesn’t necessarily mean what consumers might think it means. Starbucks found out that “natural” might not satisfy all of its customers when it switched from Red #40 to a natural food coloring made from crushed insects. Those crushed insects aren’t harmful, but that’s not exactly what folks were expecting from a “natural” ingredient, either.
- Pizza Hut and Taco Bell (both owned by Yum Brands) have announced plans to get rid of artificial colors and flavors from their menu items. As an example, Taco Bell said it’s going to stop using artificial black pepper flavor and use “natural black pepper flavor” — but the company wouldn’t disclose the exact difference between those ingredients. [url]
- Chipotle said it has gone GMO free (well, except for its drinks). The media coverage wasn’t as glowingly positive as might have been expected, though. [url]
- Some food alarmists have been warning people that artificial strawberry and raspberry flavorings come from “beaver anal glands” — but that’s not exactly true. Castoreum is an extract from a beaver’s organ located near — but not from — a beaver’s butt, and this natural flavoring/fragrance isn’t widely used in foods because it’s actually too expensive to be economical in many food products. [url]
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