I was in Target the other day shopping for Valentine’s Day cards for Little Girl. (Big Girl got more expensive, infinitely cooler cootie catcher cards.) As we were walking past an endcap, Little Girl spotted fishies, asking me to buy them. Knowing that the Pepperidge Farm pretzel Goldfish are one of my husband’s favorites, I tossed a bag into the cart. I was about to walk away when something caught my eye: the Goldfish Colors bag looked different. I picked it up to examine it closer and found the following item: Now colors from natural ingredients! Wow. Goldfish Colors have always been off-limits for us. I just won’t give my kids artificial food coloring, and Goldfish Colors had more than its share.
When I turned the bag around and saw the ingredients, though, I was surprised to see that all those artificial colors and numbers were gone. All the food dyes came from actual FOODS! The Blue 2, Red 40, and Red 3 — all things that have been linked to a ton of negative effects in kids such as attention deficit and concentration problems — had been transformed into watermelon juice concentrate, beet juice concentrate, huito juice concentrate, and annatto extract. Aside from the fact that they are not organic, there was absolutely nothing in the ingredients that gave me pause. The kids, sensing an opening, asked for them. I complied.
This is a wonderful example of the marketplace responding to parental concerns. Pepperidge Farm all but acknowledged it in its August 25 press release: “Throughout the decades, families have trusted Goldfish crackers as a wholesome, fun and delicious snack that has evolved to meet the demands of the many Goldfish cracker fans around the world,” said Stephen White, Vice President Crackers. (Digression: Wow, what an interesting title!) “With the scrutiny surrounding artificial colors in foods, we were thrilled to be able to make this change in our Goldfish Colors crackers and introduce Goldfish Colors Neon using the same formula,” added White.
It’s also tangible evidence that we, as parents, have more power than we think. I’ve said it time and time and time again. Don’t like something? Vote with your wallets, tweet about it, post on Facebook, blog, call, email, write letters. Because as Pepperidge Farm shows us, yes, the food manufacturers are listening.