The number of companies jumping on the clean-label bandwagon continues to snowball, as cereal giant General Mills announced it plans to remove artificial flavors and colors from all of its General Mills cereals over the next two to three years. According to the company, approximately 60 percent its cereals are free of artificial flavors or colors from artificial sources and have been that way for several years.
In a statement, General Mills said: “We are aiming for 75 percent by January—including Reese’s Puffs and Trix—and 90 percent by the end of 2016, giving our product developers time to make sure they look and taste great." Cereals that contain marshmallows, like Lucky Charms and our Monster cereals, are the biggest challenge and may take longer to complete the changes.
Just two years ago, General Mills committed to sustainably sourcing 100 percent of 10 priority ingredients by 2020, representing 50 percent of the company's total raw material purchases. The priority ingredients include oats, wheat, corn, dairy, fiber packaging, cocoa, vanilla, palm oil, sugar (cane) and sugar (beets).
“We’re simply listening to consumers and these ingredients are not what people are looking for in their cereal today," said Jim Murphy, president, Cereal division. The goal is to match the taste that consumers love, with little to no visible change to the color for most of the cereals we’re reformulating. Some, like Trix, will look a bit different as we remove colors from artificial sources.
For cereals like Trix, fruit and vegetable juice and spice extracts will be used for color. In Reese’s Puffs, flavors like natural vanilla will be used. “This is about removing barriers to cereal," said Lauren Pradhan, senior marketing manager for wellness strategy in the Cereal division. “People have told us they don’t want dyes in their cereal."
On June 2, Nestlé USA is the latest food beverage manufacturer to jump on the clean-label and better-for-you bandwagon. The company announced today plans to remove artificial flavors and reduce sodium by 10 percent from its most-popular frozen pizza and snack products by end of 2015. Improvements in the ingredient quality and nutritional profiles will affect more than 250 products across six brands in the United States, including DIGIORNO®, TOMBSTONE®, CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN®, JACK’S®, HOT POCKETS® and LEAN POCKETS®.
In April, Kraft Foods announced that beginning in January 2016, Original Kraft Macaroni & Cheese sold in the United States no longer will be made with artificial preservatives or synthetic colors.