General Mills ditches fake ingredients; here’s why

SHARE General Mills ditches fake ingredients; here’s why

PHOTO: Artificial flavors and coloring are being phased out of General Mills cereals. | RICK BOWMER~AP

Big news from the cereal aisles!

General Mills — maker of kid-popular products such as Trix, Cocoa Puffs and Lucky Charms — announced Monday (June 23) that it is removing artificial flavors and colors from its cereals. By 2017 they’ll be totally gone. In their place will be flavorings and color achieved from natural sources, such as from fruit or vegetable juices and spice extracts.

And why did this happen? Because consumers demanded it: “People don’t want colors with numbers in their food anymore,” one of the speakers in a video on the General Mills website candidly admits.

This is how we’re going to change our food supply. Not by wishing and hoping that food manufacturers will decide out of the goodness of their hearts to make our food as real as possible. No, it has to be because they realize consumers — after gaining more knowledge about their foods — are insisting on it, and are willing to take their shopping dollars where they can get food as natural as possible

This change will impact 40 percent of the brand’s cereals. The timeline put forth shows the company is aiming to have 75 percent of those changed by January. (As the statement notes, General Mills has been working on this for quite some time.)

The statement on its website also shares some of the challenges this move represents. Those cereals that have marshmallows — that would include Lucky Charms and Count Chocula, among others — may take longer to switch over. Naturally the company wants to ensure that the taste of each of the products is as close as possible to the original.

How will you know when it happens to your favorite cereal? You’ll be able to see the change reflected in the cereal list on the side. In some case, the company will call attention to the switch on the front of the box. I’m beating — since this is a great marketing strategy — when it happens will be noted on the majority of the cereals.

General Mills is joining other food providers — including Panera, Pizza Hut, Subway and Taco Bell — in ditching the fake ingredients. But no doubt about it, when a powerhouse like General Mills take a step like this, still others will follow.

One step at a time, but you know what has to come next: cutting the sugar in so many of our food products, including cereals.

And how will that happen? Because consumers demand it.

The Latest
From Seattle, Patrick Finley and Jason Lieser wonder whether Justin Fields and Cole Kmet is the Bears’ next great connection, what role Teven Jenkins has to play and how Velus Jones can help the team the most.
The custodian recorded a female staff member inside the restroom of Washington Elementary School, Park Ridge police said.
No matter what numbers you look at, the White Sox starter ranks among the very best in baseball this season.
DePaul professors Windsor Aguirre and Thiru Ramaraj are collaborating on fish genomes.
In another attack, a 71-year-old woman was shot inside a home in Auburn Gresham.