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Halloween Treats Get Real: Necco Wafers Are Now All Natural

Halloween Treats Get Real: Necco Wafers Are Now All Natural

When you are a child, candy is your currency. You dream about it, save your pennies to buy it, and trade it for your friend’s most coveted treats at lunch time.

If your childhood love affair with candy included a healthy preoccupation with the iconic Necco Wafers, you’ll be happy to learn that the “162-year-old Massachusetts company is taking its venerable Necco Wafers all-natural, making them the largest mass-produced candy line in the U.S. to shed artificial flavoring and colors” (AP).

This is a well-timed move on the company’s part, with Halloween just around the corner, and every one from dieticians to mommy bloggers calling for a return to more wholesome goody bag fodder.

Although artificial flavors and colorings are found in just about every type of sweet treat, Necco is making a bold move toward more all-natural ingredients, which is sure to earn them more than a few kudos from people trying to keep toxic additives to a minimum in their children’s diets.

Necco, which is short for New England Confectionary Co., produces about 4 billion of the crunchy, malty wafers each year, packaging them in large rolls (36 wafers) and junior rolls (nine wafers).

What will the company use to replace the formerly chemical based flavors and colorings? “Beet juice, purple cabbage, cocoa powder and turmeric — a spice often used in curries — are some of the natural ingredients in the new wafers, which will be phased in at retail stores before and after Halloween” (AP).

In an interesting stroke of coincidence, the only wafer flavor to be lost in the switch to natural ingredients was green.

“Green, one of eight original wafer colors, was too hard to duplicate in the all-natural process. It seems the lime flavor could be reproduced naturally, but the color lacked consistency so it was scrapped” (AP).

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Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons by House Of Sims

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12 comments

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1:28AM PST on Dec 2, 2009

thanks for another awesome article

5:59AM PDT on Oct 30, 2009

Yes, it's hard to believe they were eaten by Civil War soldiers! Compared to other candy I guess they were good in the day but they had little to compare to. My sister once used them in a science experiment, how long do they take to disolve. I trained goldfish in a repeat of Pavlola (sp?) animal behavior experiment, except they don't salivate. I got nothing. She used Neccos and got a 3rd place! I learned a lot about politics that year.

10:40AM PDT on Oct 29, 2009

I hear they used to work in the I-toll ways people would drop them in as coins.

10:16AM PDT on Oct 29, 2009

I never cared for them but was hoping they were at least vegan. *sigh* Guess that is why vegans are so healthy...no candy. It is good to know they are switching to natural ingredients but until they ditch the gelatin not quite 'natural' enough.

9:46AM PDT on Oct 29, 2009

Loved the orange and chocolate flavors. Just might buy a roll now!

9:24AM PDT on Oct 29, 2009

Well good for NECCO in trying to make a statement on health through candy.

The NECCO chips were never a favorite candy of mine, but apparently they are somebodies have they've been around for 162 yrs.

I do appreciate their more au naturale efforts though and most assuredly will introduce their confections sold to my children...

8:35AM PDT on Oct 29, 2009

I used to love Necco wafers, but as a longtime vegetarian I haven't been able to eat them for years because of the gelatin. I wish they'd find a veg. substitute for the gelatin.

7:16AM PDT on Oct 29, 2009

Neccos were always the candies completely dreaded by everyone I knew; only some people from my parents generation actually liked or tolerated them.

7:09AM PDT on Oct 29, 2009

Although I'm vegan, I'm not one to worry about the source of sugar in foods I eat. However, when I buy sugar or I have the option in restaurants, I prefer the natural or turbinado. Anyway, it's the gelatin that makes them unsuitable for vegetarians and vegans, so let's hope they can get rid of that next. Necco candies are one of the few things I miss since going veg.

6:39AM PDT on Oct 29, 2009

I've always loved Neccos, since they've always been pretty pure in comparison to some candies. Glad to see that and hope it spreads to the little valentine candies they also make.

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