"Natural ingredients are more expensive, so it skyrockets costs," explains David Henkes of Technomic, a consulting firm for the food industry. "You're either going to have to take a lower margin or raise the price to consumers.
"Nobody wants to sacrifice margin but in today's environment, if your product is not on trend... it's a choice between that and watching your sales drop 10, 15, 20% a year. So you're going to take the lower margin and like it."
Just look at Papa John's. According to Bloomberg, the pizza empire's plan to eliminate corn syrup, preservatives, and artificial colors is costing around $100 million a year. Pepperoni alone -- free of BHA and BHT fillers -- is a cool $2 million drop in the bucket.
According to Henkes, some companies just aren't ready to go there financially, but haven't ruled it out yet.