General Mills reduces sodium in 7 categories, misses goal of 10

Dive Brief:

  • General Mills has reduced sodium by at least 20% in seven product categories as compared to a 2008 baseline. The company missed its goal of reaching that level in 10 product categories by 2015, which General Mills set in 2010.
  • The company was able to produce the biggest reductions in savory snacks at 35% and frozen pizza at 29%.
  • The three categories General Mills missed its goals for were cereal (18%), Progresso ready-to-serve soups (19%), and Old El Paso Mexican dinners (19%). The company recognized that a 20% reduction was lofty.

Dive Insight:

Chief health and wellness officer Maha Tahiri told Reuters that it took months or even years to get some of the product reformulations right. "It's very significant for a nutrient like sodium because it really defines a lot of the taste," she said. "We did it in a very, very mindful way."

Several companies, such as Kraft Heinz and Wal-Mart, have made voluntary attempts to reduce sodium in their products, particularly as more health experts suggest that sodium could be harmful to consumers' health. 

In 2010, the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine released a report about reducing sodium consumption and recommended that the FDA set mandatory benchmarks to gradually reduce sodium content in the food supply. The FDA hasn't set such benchmarks.

In other General Mills news, the company has elected two new members to its board of directors. Roger W. Ferguson Jr. has been CEO of financial services firm TIAA-CREF since 2008, and Eric D. Sprunkto is COO of Nike, Inc.

Filed Under: Corporate