Companies are going to great lengths to remove and replace ingredients that concern customers.
Kraft Foods Group's February announcement that it has removed artificial preservatives from Kraft Singles individually wrapped cheese slices followed a November 2013 pledge to eliminate artificial yellow food dyes out of its character-based shaped varieties of macaroni and cheese sold in boxes starting in 2014. The company instead will use colors derived from spices such as paprika, annatto and turmeric. A petition on change.org asking Kraft to take artificial food dyes out of its macaroni and cheese products had accumulated more than 348,000 signatures by Oct. 31.
In February, Subway said it began the process of removing azodicarbonamide, a dough conditioner, from its bread even before petitions asked them to stop using it. Vani Hari, who created foodbabe.com, on Feb. 4 started a petition asking Subway to remove the dough conditioner. The same day the Washington-based Center for Science in the Public Interest urged the Food and Drug Administration to bar the use of azodicarbonamide as a food additive or at least reduce the amount allowed for use.
General Mills in January announced it had taken steps to rid Cheerios of genetically modified ingredients. Changes in sourcing and handling of ingredients, such as separating cane sugar from beet sugar and using corn starch made with non-bioengineered corn, enables the company to label its original Cheerios cereal as free of bioengineered ingredients. The announcement followed a G.M.O. Inside campaign from national non-profit group Green America pushing the company to remove the controversial components from the top-selling cereal.
Post Foods revealed in January changes to its popular Grape-Nuts brand that allow the cereal to be marketed as non-G.M.O. Post said its Grape-Nuts Original is now non-G.M.O., though the company declined to disclose what, if any, changes have been made to the ingredient makeup of the product. The move came just a few weeks after General Mills released non-G.M.O. original Cheerios, though Cheerios is not third-party verified. Another R.-T.-E. cereal company, Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Mich., has stated its intention to make all existing Kashi GoLean cereals Non-G.M.O. Project Verified by the end of 2014.
In June 2013, Chipotle Mexican Grill became the first national restaurant chain to openly label its bioengineered ingredients and has made progress in its mission to remove them from menu items. The fast-casual burrito chain has transitioned from soy oil to non-bioengineered sunflower and rice bran oils and is working to eliminate G.M.O.s from its corn and flour tortillas to be G.M.O.-free by the end of 2014.
Chick-fil-A in December 2013 announced plans to replace high-fructose corn syrup and artificial dyes in some of its menu items, in addition to removing yellow dye from its chicken soup recipe. The chain said it is testing dressings and sauces without high-fructose corn syrup, buns without artificial ingredients and peanut oil without tert-Butylhydroquinone, an artificial preservative.
In January 2013, PepsiCo, Inc. said it was taking steps to remove brominated vegetable oil, an emulsifier, from its Gatorade sports drinks in response to consumer complaints. While the ingredient is generally recognized as safe, it is a compound found in flame retardants.
Starbucks in April 2012 said it would stop using cochineal extract, a red dye sourced from cochineal insects, in some of its products, including strawberry beverage products, raspberry swirl cake, birthday cake pops, mini donut with pink icing and red velvet whoopie pies. The change came in response to an outcry from vegans and a petition on Change.org signed by more than 6,000 people.