General Mills to boot cereal artificial colors, flavors

Dive Brief:

  • Add General Mills to the list of companies pledging to get rid of artificial ingredients. The company announced today a commitment to remove flavors and colors from artificial sources in its cereals.
  • Over two to three years, this move will affect about 40% of the company's cereals, as about 60% don't currently have artificial flavors or colors from artificial sources.
  • Marshmallow-filled Lucky Charms and Monster cereals, for instance, provide "the biggest challenge." Trix is going to see color changes, with fruit and vegetable juice and spice extracts the new color make-up.

Dive Insight:

"With our consumers, it reached a tipping point in the last couple of years with the trend toward simpler food," according to Jim Murphy, president of General Mills' cereal unit.

The process involves finding the right ingredients that match the taste consumers enjoy. The company also notes that a change in color affects flavor, too.

Companies across the industry have been making similar pledges. Nestle said artificial flavors and colors will be out of its candy by the end of 2015 and Hershey is focusing on simpler ingredients.

Cereal companies have been struggling as consumers reject cold cereals, and Murphy is confident this artificial flavor and color removal will help boost the market. Kellogg recently posted a 44% earnings plunge. General Mills and Kellogg each hold approximately 30% of the U.S. cereal market.

With the top cereal company of the Fortune 500 taking this leap, pressure falls on others to fall in line.

General Mills stock saw a 0.5% uptick in morning trade, rising 5.8% this year to date.

Filed Under: Corporate
Top image credit: Steve Winton