Additives: industry has been listening Julian Hunt Director of communications, Food and Drink Federation Sir; Contrary to the impression given by your lead story last week, I would like to point out that manufacturers and retailers have been responding for a number of years to consumer demands for fewer artificial additives in food and drinks ('Heat is on over e-numbers', The Grocer, 15 March, p4). In the case of the artificial colours highlighted by the University of Southampton study, feedback from our members confirms that manufacturers are actively working to remove them from products - and in many cases they have completed their reformulation efforts. In some cases, there are technical hurdles to be overcome when reformulating products; and there are companies that are less aware of the consumer trends driving change in the market. That's why the Food Standards Agency worked with FDF last month to co-host a successful technical symposium on additives, where experts in this field shared their experiences and knowledge with an audience of manufacturers and retailers. Independent research by Mintel, published last year, demonstrated that the biggest trend in the UK grocery market is the shift towards 'natural ingredients' in food and drink products. As a result, only a tiny fraction of the 30,000 or so products stocked by the average supermarket now contain these colours.