Consumers have gone on the offensive with ingredient concerns in 2013. In several cases, legal challenges have already hit home for PepsiCo and General Mills, where choices are changing and ingredient labels will look a little different by this time next year.
Here's a look at five prominent cases from 2013 where companies have decided that significant ingredient swaps needed to happen some of the most famous products on U.S. grocery aisles:
1. MILK PROTEIN CONCENTRATE
Product: Yoplait Greek
Company: General Mills Inc.
The story: As of July, General Mills decided to follow its Greek yogurt competition and do away with milk protein concentrate as a thickening agent in Yoplait Greek. Chobani and Dannon have put the squeeze on Yoplait's yogurt dominance recently. Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing a legal challenge over whether or not the product should have been in use to begin with.
(Image credit: Yoplait)
2. BROMINATED VEGETABLE OIL
Company: PepsiCo Inc.
The story: Brominated vegetable oil (BVO) has been used in Gatorade since 1969, and the U.S. government has generally considered it to be safe, but a Change.org petition this year from a high school student named Susan Kavanaugh demanded that PepsiCo switch to something else. Ultimately PepsiCo relented and announced that BVO would be removed, not because it was unsafe, but because consumers were developing a negative impression of it.
(Image credit: Flickr user betsyweber)
3. VITAMIN E
Company: Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc.
The story: The Center for Science in the Public interest backed complaints over 7-Up's antioxidant claims, which were ultimately made possible by vitamin E that was being added and not the fruit that was being displayed on diet Cherry Antioxidant and Mixed Berry Antioxidant cans. Dr. Pepper Snapple Group has decided to settle the antioxidant suit, and part of that settlement agreement will involve and to vitamin E additions, along with its on-can antioxidant messaging.
(Image credit: Flickr user Daquella manera)
Company: PepsiCo Inc.
The story: PepsiCo has already announced plans to phase out 4-methylimidazole (4-MI) for the caramel coloring in its cola. In fact, both Pepsi and Coca-Cola have been planning to get rid of it since 2012. A recent report from the Center for Environmental Health, however, found 4-MI to still be present in Pepsi samples taken from outside of California. PepsiCo responded, assuring that it plans to get 4-MI out of its products by February 2014.
(Image credit: Flickr user israelavila)
5: GMO INGREDIENTS
Product: Ben & Jerry's ice cream
The story: Ben & Jerry's formally announced this year that it would begin transitioning away from GMO ingredients in a process expected to last into 2014. As of the beginning of the summer, the brand's official position was that about 80% of its ingredients were already non-GMO-sourced. Those ice cream tubs pack a lot of ingredients, though—hence the need to extend the phase-out into the new year.
(Image credit: Business Wire)
Would you like to see more food and beverage industry news and information like this in your inbox on a daily basis? Subscribe to our Food Dive email newsletter! You may also want to check out Food Dive's look at 5 food companies specializing in insects.