SnackWell's dropping some artificial ingredients

Snack maker SnackWell's has become the latest food company to tweak its ingredient list to appeal to customers seeking healthier options.

The company said Friday that it is cutting high-fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oil and artificial flavors from its products. It also plans to launch some new items next month, including one labeled "100% Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites."

SnackWell's low-fat and fat-free cookies and crackers were launched in 1992, and the brand was purchased in late 2013 by Back to Nature Foods, a company controlled by the private equity firm Brynwood Partners.

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Back to Nature CEO Vincent Fantegrossi said in a statement that the company has been working to reinvigorate the SnackWell's brand as demand grows for "flavorful products made with healthier ingredients."

It is part of a growing trend in the food industry to adopt higher quality or more natural ingredients, largely driven by customer demand.

Earlier this week, Panera Bread Co. published its "no no list," naming dozens of ingredients that the company will either stop using by the end of 2016 or has already cut from its menu. Artificial smoke flavor, a variety of sweeteners and preservatives, and glycerol ester of wood rosin, an additive used to keep oils evenly mixed in water, are among those ingredients that will disappear by the end of next year.

Last month PepsiCo Inc., announced it would stop using the artificial sweetener Aspartame, and Kraft Food Groups Inc. said it was dropping artificial dyes and preservatives from its classic Mac & Cheese.