Carrot, hibiscus, radish, and lemon — food for rabbits, and now ingredients for candy.

Driven by strong consumer demand to go “natural,” Nestlé has started to use these natural alternatives to provide color or flavor in popular products such as Rolo and Smarties. And, by doing so, the company has become the first major confectionery manufacturer in the U.K. to remove all artificial ingredients from its products — all 79 of the confectionery products sold in the region now are free of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.

“This is a significant milestone,” says David Rennie, managing director of Nestlé Confectionery in the U.K. “[And], we’ve worked very hard with our suppliers to ensure we have not made any compromises on the quality and taste of all our products.”

According to consumer research, about 75% of Britons look for products without artificial additives when buying confectionery.

“Pleasure is, and will always be, our priority for confectionery,” says Marcelo Melchior, head of Nestlé’s confectionery strategic business unit. “A responsible approach towards our product portfolio will help us to be recognized as offering the confectionery brands consumers feel best about purchasing.”

The replacement is the result of a seven-year research and development program, and the result is that more than 80 artificial ingredients are being replaced with alternatives.

This work is part of the Nestlé’s long-term commitment to finding natural substitutes for artificial colors, flavors and preservatives in confectionery. The company is pursuing similar initiatives in Canada and other European markets.

Nestlé already had removed artificial ingredients from all its beverages in the UK, including Nesquik.

For more information, visit