To Fake or Not to Fake?

To Fake or Not to Fake?

Candy super-maker Mars Inc. announced this month its plan to remove ALL artificial dyes from its products in order to “meet evolving consumer preferences.” As we’ve been saying for a while here at The Gild, the public’s cravings and expectations for healthier, ‘real’ food and beverage products is not a fleeting trend but a mass movement. However, this news still caught me by surprise — as Grub Street cheekily points out, Mars products like M&Ms and Skittles are practically founded upon expectations of fakeness with their super-saturated, bright and distinct colors. To this end, Mars is planning to spend 5 years fully implementing their changes, hoping to find the best natural solution to maintaining the vivid pops of color we’ve all come to expect.

Reflecting on the news, I have to applaud this move on Mars’ part. Taking a subtler, ingredients-focused step like this seems to me a far wiser response to the ‘new normal’ of today rather than attempting to release totally new, awkward, and misguided ‘health’ products like the limited time strange-looking McDonalds organic burger or their latest gaffe in the media, a (730 calorie) kale salad. We’ll have to wait and see how the Mars changes go over with the general public, but I’m betting that struggling big guys can help avoid more McMissteps by taking a page from the Mars book. Stick with what you know and just focus on dialing up integrity and realness in the details, and nix the desire to go from zero to sixty with huge risk for failure.

What do you think? Does the shift to all-natural dyes make candy like Skittles and M&Ms more appealing to you?

Image credit: Grubstreet.com / Envision/Corbis

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