Pursuing a consumer health trend Nestle Rowntree has decided to eliminated artificial colours from its Smarties brand of confectionary.
Artificial colours will be removed from June, the company stated in a press release.
Consumers might be disappointed however, as according to press reports the blue Smartie will no longer exist as the company has been unable to find a natural alternative.
"The move fits with the consumer trend towards healthier lifestyles and is expected to please parents who are becoming increasingly health aware and would like more permissible options for their children," the company stated.
About 84 per cent of Smarties packs are bought by adults on behalf of children said Birte Leiner, Nestle Rowntree's brand manager.
By introducing this initiative to Smarties one of the nations favourite treats we are responding to increased consumer demand for less artificial ingredients," he added.
Smarties is the second Nestle Rowntree brand to become free from artificial colours, after the entire Rowntrees range made the move in the summer of 2005.
Sales of the Rowntrees brand have increased by about nine per cent this year, the company said.
The company will spend 3m on a media campaign this summer. The spend includes TV advertising targeted at parents.
The company's no artificial colours message will be featured on relevant Smarties packs. Special displays will be mounted in-store.
"Nestle has a long-term focus on improving the nutritional qualities of existing products and on launching new, great tasting products that people can easily integrate into their diets," the company said in making the announcement.
The Smarties free from artificial colours are packed in the company's hexatube, hexatube four pack, carton, mini cartons, and hanging bags.