Loblaw to remove artificial colours, flavours from its PC line: report

5/3/2012

In response to a growing demand for natural products, Loblaw said it will remove artificial colours and flavours from its President’s Choice line.

According to a report in The Globe and Mail, Galen G. Weston, executive chairman of Loblaw Cos. Ltd., will make the announcement at the company’s annual general meeting Thursday.

Ian Gordon, senior vice-president of Loblaw Brands said in the article: “We hear more and more concern from consumers about artificial flavours and colours and we just think it’s the right thing to do.”

By the end of this year, all artificial colours in the PC line (which includes Blue Menu, Organics and Green branded products) will be removed, according to the Globe. And all artificial flavours will be removed by the end of 2013,

The company has had to find alternative ingredients that don’t sacrifice shelf life, taste or appearance. In confectionary, the task is particularly difficult since consumers have become accustomed to bright (artificial dye) colouring in products.

While the medical and scientific communities continue to remain divided about the true risks of artificial flavours and colours some groups such as the Centre for Science in the Public Interest in Ottawa have pushed for improved controls on the use of artificial dyes and flavours.

Meanwhile, Health Canada is looking at making companies indicate the artificial colours used on product labels, something not currently required.

Food manufacturers are increasingly feeling consumer pressure for more “natural” ingredient labelling, equating it with better health.

Various companies like Nestlé have responded; it removed artificial colours from Smarties in Canada, while many of the its confectionary sold in Britain as of March only contains natural flavours and dyes.

But experts say that products aren’t necessarily healthier because they contain some natural ingredients. Rena Mendelson, professor of nutrition at Ryerson University in Toronto, said in the article that products containing natural flavours and dyes might still contain unwanted preservatives, additives or stabilizers.

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