General Mills announced Monday it will remove all artificial colors and flavors from its cereals beginning with Trix, Cocoa Puffs and Reese’s Puffs by the end of 2015.
Golden Valley-based General Mills appears to be the first major U.S. cereal maker to systemically extract artificial colors. But it’s the latest of several big food companies to dump artificial colors and flavors.
As more consumers have become wary of processed foods, they’ve gravitated toward “clean” labels free of stuff that doesn’t look natural.
“Consumers increasingly want the ingredient list for their cereal to look like what they pull out of their pantry,” Jim Murphy, president of General Mills U.S. cereal business, told the Star Tribune. They don’t want labels chock-full of “colors with numbers and ingredients you can’t pronounce.”
That means Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1 and other artificial dyes common in some cereals — particularly kids cereal — will give way to colors made from spices and fruit and vegetable juice concentrates.
Murphy said that over 60 percent of General Mills cereals already have no artificial colors or flavors. By the end of 2016, the company expects 90 percent of its cereal portfolio to be free of them, with the remainder going natural in 2017.
This is big step in the right direction.