Mars will not remove all artificial colors from its entire U.S. portfolio, contrasting a 2016 plan to do so.
However, the company will continue to offer a variety of candy options free from artificial colors, such as Snickers, Twix, and Dove milk and dark chocolate.
In February 2016, Mars Inc. had announced plans to “remove all artificial colors from its human food products as part of a commitment to meet evolving consumer preferences.”
At the time, the company said:
"Though many of the company's products are already free of artificial colors, by expanding the scope of the effort to its entire human food portfolio, Mars is making a commitment of significant depth and breadth. Products across the range of the company's chocolate, gum, confection, food and drink businesses will be affected by the change, which will take place incrementally over the next five years."
Many of Mars’ products, such as Skittles and Starburst, are known for their bright colors. Maintaining that brightness was likely a challenge, as natural colors tend to be more muted than artificial colors.
The company said a majority of its U.S. consumers “appreciate the current vibrant palette used in their favorite treats. So, Mars will not remove all artificial colors from the entire portfolio...This approach is consistent with intent to meet evolving consumer preferences and more information can be found on mars.com.”
When Mars first announced its goal to use only natural colors, it emphasized the artificial colors it uses now pose no health risk, and that the change was instead inspired by consumer demand.
“Artificial colors pose no known risks to human health or safety, but consumers today are calling on food manufacturers to use more natural ingredients in their products,” Mars said at the time.