Trix, the popular breakfast cereal from General Mills (GIS) is now a lot less artificial. The move is part of a huge push from the cereal giant to remove artificial flavors and colors from its entire cereal line by the end of 2017.
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Trix and Reese’s Puffs are among the first cereals the company is tackling. Trix—which has been a kid’s morning staple for 60 years, will now use ingredients like fruit and vegetable juices and spice extracts such as turmeric and annatto seeds to achieve the fun colors that made it famous. The new and improved boxes hit shelves by the end of this year.
“This was not easy. It takes time. We looked at 100 different colors and we’ve tried 100 different bowls of cereal to make sure we got it right,” says Lauren Pradhan, Senior Manager at General Mills’ Wellness Strategy.
General Mills cereals have been a work in progress for years. In 2007, the company lowered sugar levels in kids cereals by more than 16% on average. When Trix was first introduced in 1955, it was reportedly composed of more than 46% sugar. Today, one serving of the fruity cereal contains 10 grams of sugar.
“We know that cereal makes up 4% of a kid’s sugar consumption a day on average,” adds Gallager. “And, in the last few years, we’ve been hearing about artificial colors more and more from parents.”
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The company also fielded a Nielsen study which found that 49% of households are making an effort to avoid artificial flavors and colors.
“We have a lot of hard work ahead of us and we know some products will present challenges as we strive to uphold the taste, quality and fun in every spoonful of cereal,” says Kate Gallager, General Mills cereal developer.
Gallager says cereals that contain marshmallows like, Lucky Charms, may take longer.
“Lucky Charms has a pretty even consumption among kids and adults. It’s about 50/50,”says Mike Siemienas, a General Mills’ Brand Media Relations Manager.
Currently, more than 60% of General Mills cereals, including Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Original Cheerios, are without artificial flavors and colors, and that should increase to 90% by the end of 2016.
And the good news cereal lovers: the price will stay the same.