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Nestle nixes artificial colors, cuts sugar in Nesquik powder

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Nestle said it is reducing added sugar in its original chocolate powder by 15 percent and cutting added sugar in strawberry powder by 27 percent. (Nestle)

Nestle says it is cutting some of the sugar from its Nesquik chocolate and strawberry powders and taking artificial coloring out of the strawberry powder.

Strawberry Nesquik powder will get its pink coloring from beet juice powder instead of artificial colors, the company said. Nestle said it is reducing added sugar in its original chocolate powder by 15 percent and cutting added sugar in strawberry powder by 27 percent because some of the added sugar will be replaced with coca and natural flavors. The moves don't affect the company's chocolate and strawberry syrups.

The company said Nesquik chocolate powder doesn't contain any artificial colors.

The new versions of the powders will go on sale this month. Nestle said that within a few months all of its powders and flavored milks will have 10.6 grams of added sugar per serving. Nesquik sells chocolate and strawberry powders and syrups and flavored milks with those two flavors and several others, including banana strawberry, vanilla, and two Girl Scout cookie flavors.

Nestle said it spent 18 months reformulating the products. With consumers paying more attention to the ingredients in what they eat, a variety of food and drink makers have altered their ingredients and make their foods seem healthier or more natural. Nestle USA said in February that it would eliminate artificial flavors and colors like Red 40 and Yellow 5 from its products by the end of 2015.

The company is adding a "no artificial colors and flavors" label to its packaging to reflect the changes.

Rival Hershey also said this year that it would "simplify" the ingredients of chocolates and candies. In recent years companies like Pepsi, Starbucks and Kraft Foods said they would eliminate some additives and dyes based on feedback from consumers.