General Mills to Remove Artificial Flavors and Colors from Cereal

General Mills Cereals announced earlier today that it has committed the brand to removing artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources from the rest of its cereal products. The commitment comes on the heels of growing consumer demand for products that are made entirely from naturally derived ingredients. Today, more than 60 percent of General Mills Cereals like Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Original Cheerios already omit artificial flavors and colors derived from artificial sources.

According to a survey conduct by Nielsen on behalf of General Mills, 49 percent of households are making an effort to avoid artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources. To respond to this growing need, General Mills Cereals will be using more recognizable, familiar ingredients to create its colors and flavors.

“At General Mills Cereals, we have been upgrading the nutrition and ingredients in our cereals for years to meet people’s needs and desires,” said Jim Murphy, president of the General Mills cereal division. “We’ve continued to listen to consumers who want to see more recognizable and familiar ingredients on the labels and challenged ourselves to remove barriers that prevent adults and children from enjoying our cereals.”

General Mills Cereals plans to have more than 90 percent of the portfolio free of artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources by the end of 2016. Cereal lover favorites including Trix and Reese’s Puffs will be among the first of the remaining brands to change. Trix will now use ingredients like fruit and vegetable juices and spice extracts such as turmeric and annatto to achieve the fun red, yellow, orange and purple colors.  Reese’s Puffs will continue to use peanut butter and cocoa and incorporate natural vanilla flavor to achieve the same great taste that adults and children have always enjoyed.  Consumers can expect to see the updated Trix and Reese’s Puffs cereals on store shelves this winter.

“We have a lot of hard work ahead of us and we know some products will present challenges as we strive to uphold the taste, quality and fun in every spoonful of cereal,” acknowledged Kate Gallager, General Mills cereal developer. “Cereals that contain marshmallows, like Lucky Charms, may take longer, but we are committed to finding a way to keep the magically delicious taste as we work to take out the artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources.”

The company has made a number of other brand-shifts to stay competitive among swelling consumer demand for a different class of cereal. General Mills recalibrated the recipes for its Big G cereals so that whole grain is the first ingredient, eliminated the use of high fructose corn syrup, and implemented measures to reduce the amount of sugar in its most popular cereal brands starting in 2007.

These cereals are currently made without artificial flavors or colors from artificial sources:

Honey Nut Cheerios
Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch
Multi Grain Cheerios
Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter
Cheerios + Ancient Grains
Cheerios Protein Cinnamon Almond
Cheerios Protein Oats & Honey
Banana Nut Cheerios
Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Chocolate Toast Crunch
SpongeBob SquarePants Cereal
Dora The Explorer Cereal
Fiber One Original
Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds
Total Whole Grain
Total Raisin Bran
All Chex Cereals
All Kix Cereals
All Cascadian Farm Cereals

General Mills is one of the world’s leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries around the world. Its brands include Cheerios, Fiber One, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., USA, General Mills had fiscal 2014 worldwide sales of US $17.9 billion.

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