Posted on Wednesday, December 16th, 2015 at 7:00 am
Several decades ago, people decided what food to buy for their families based on little more than the brand. Today, parents read the ingredient labels on food, in search of the healthiest choice. They might choose products from General Mills, who has made an all-natural pledge.
In the summer of 2015, General Mills announced that it would begin removing all artificial flavors and colors from its cereal products. The company used an ad campaign called Parent Promises to get the word out. In their artistic and amusing ad, General Mills states: “We are committed to removing artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources from our cereals.”
Why would a big company like General Mills be making that kind of promise to consumers? It could be due to a growing concern on the part of many consumers about the ingredients that are in the foods they purchase and feed to their families. Over the years, many families have started selecting foods that they perceived to be natural over ones that had a lot of artificial ingredients.
In September of 2015, General Mills created a gluten-free version of its popular Cheerios cereal. Their ad featured Phil Zietlow, who is a 50-year veteran of the research and development team at General Mills. He discovered that his daughter-in-law, Joyce, cannot eat gluten. (She has celiac disease). So, he set out to create a Cheerios that she (and others like her) could safely eat.
General Mills is also keeping consumer’s preferences regarding natural foods in mind when it acquires other brands. General Mills acquired Annie’s, which is a brand that makes organic snack products. A few of their products (including two types of macaroni and cheese and two flavors of cookies) are gluten-free.
When can you expect to see the new, healthier, General Mills cereal products on the shelves at your local grocery store? The changeover will not be instantaneous. General Mills has indicated that it would eliminate the questionable ingredients from all of its cereal products by 2017.
That being said, it is possible that some of the new versions of their famous cereals will appear in 2016. It is a good idea to read the ingredient labels before you make your purchase. Another option for health conscious consumers is to buy cereal from other brands that already have removed the artificial ingredients. This is an area that is likely to have a lot of competition in coming years.