- General Mills updated seven cereals that are now free of artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources. The new recipes move the company closer to its 2017 goal to remove artificial sources from all of its cereals, from the current 75%.
- The natural colors come from vegetables, fruits, and spice extracts.
- Researchers at General Mills worked several years to develop natural colors for use in its colorful cereals, which could be successfully produced on a mass scale, according to a recent company blog post.
The trend away from artificial colors and flavors has been consistent across the industry, though that's not to say artificial ingredients will disappear. "Although the demand for natural ingredients will continue to grow, I think there will always be a need for a certain amount of what may be described as synthetic ingredients," Paul Manning, president and CEO of Sensient Technologies, told Food Dive last year.
In addition to meeting with consumers, the researchers explored 69 colors and 86 flavors; conducted nearly 100 tastings; and completed 301 recipe experiments.
The new ingredients are found in Trix, Reese’s Puffs, Cocoa Puffs, Golden Grahams, Chocolate Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios, and Fruity Cheerios. The company has produced natural colors for red, orange, purple and yellow; blue and green have proved challenging.
"We’re not done, we just started this and we’re going to continue to renovate our products in meaningful ways for the consumers, and I think one of those is figuring out how can we bring back some of those colors that, in the initial part, we took out," Kate Gallager, R&D manager for the cereal division, said in the blog post.