The supermarket chain Aldi has made a huge move towards further appealing to consumers who want their food more natural. More than nine out of ten products sold at Aldi are under the supermarket chain’s exclusive brand, and the chain has come to be among thrifty shoppers’ ideal grocery stores. Panera and Campbell Soup are among the brands that have pledged to remove substances the public finds unhealthy, and even unsafe, like trans fats, artificial flavors, and artificial food dyes, but Aldi’s CEO has spoken out. Aldi will no longer carry items that contain certified synthetic colors, partially hydrogenated oils, and added monosodium glutamate (MSG).
— Supermarket News (@SN_news) October 3, 2015
“Since more than 90 percent of the products we sell are under our exclusive brands,” Aldi’s CEO Jason Hart said, according to the Consumerist, and that “eliminating these ingredients will have a real impact on the over 30 million people who shop in our stores.”
As it turns out, selling Aldi’s private label items in order to keep prices low is the exact thing that allows Aldi executives to have significant control over what is sold on the supermarket chain’s shelves. So while removing artificial colors, MSG and partially hydrogenated fats from the shelves of Walmart or other stores that boast saving people money would prove to be a nearly impossible mission at this time, Aldi’s control over its inexpensive private-label items has allowed the chain to to make a move that would normally be associated with only the likes of food co-ops or high-end health food chains. But unlike when Nestlé’s executives, who announced far in advance that it would be removing all artificial flavorings and artificial colorings from all of its chocolate in the U.S. by the end of the year, Aldi didn’t make the announcement until the deal was basically done.
Thursday, the announcement was made. Aldi removed certified synthetic colors, partially hydrogenated oils, and MSG from all of its private-label products, and by the end of the year, none of these ingredients will remain on the supermarket chain’s shelves.
“Our decision to remove these ingredients from all of our exclusive brand foods delivers on our ongoing commitment to meet the evolving preferences of our customers,” Hart said before speaking of the impact the decision will have on over 30 million shoppers that go to Aldi. The SimplyNature line of products was already free from more than 125 ingredients that consumers have spoken out against and had already expanded its organic produce options.
Food additives and ADHD: Are you still eating these? If not, has your performance improved? http://t.co/yYIZqXC9PX
— Chava Adams (@WaysTheyLearn) March 3, 2015
Removing these ingredients, especially the artificial colors, could make shopping far simpler for many parents. Many parents with children who have autism, FASD, or ADHD try to steer clear of the fake dyes and spend much of their grocery shopping visit reading labels looking for items like Red 40. Researchers at Purdue University showed that the average person ingested around of 62 mg of artificial food dyes each day in 2010. In 1950, the average daily intake was 12 mg per person. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says these levels of artificial food coloring “are higher than the levels demonstrated in some clinical trials to impair some children’s behavior.”
As an article in Health pointed out, fake coloring in foods is increasingly believed to impact children’s behavior by setting off symptoms of children who are prone to hyperactivity. In 2011, the FDA’s Food Advisory Committee heard testimony to support this belief that all of the fake ingredients might be impacting behavior in the U.S..
Dr. David Schab, Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University, showed the Food Advisory Committee his 2004 meta-analysis of a number of double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials that looked at if eating artificial food dyes might affect children diagnosed with ADHD. Dr. Schab said “that administration of food dyes to kids with underlying broadly-defined hyperactive syndromes does seem associated with further hyperactivity.”
— Ask a Doctor (@DailyHealthTips) May 7, 2015
In 2011, Dr. L. Eugene Arnold, Professor Emeritus at Ohio State University told the Food Advisory Committee that “there may be a subset of children with a hypersensitivity to certain foods or food additives that result in an increase in activity level and/or inattention.” At the end of the FDA food advisory meeting, the members ultimately decided that since it seemed the artificial food ingredients only affected a particular subset of the population, an ADHD warning (like the one that is seen on food labels at the grocery store in Europe) wasn’t warranted yet. Much to the gratitude of the parents of some of the children in that subset, Aldi has already stepped up to make their already over-stressed lives simpler.
Is Aldi near you? You are lucky! They are removing hydrogenated oils and other harmful ingredients containing… http://t.co/TLM27Cgype
— Dr. Karen Lee (@drkarenslee) October 3, 2015
— Zachary Heskett (@ZachTFSI) October 2, 2015
— Sally Kuzemchak (@RMNutrition) October 1, 2015
[Photo credit: Bidgee]