General Mills is officially jumping aboard the natural ingredients train. Much like Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Panera have planned with their offerings, General Mills has announced that they will remove artificial colors and flavors from their entire line of cereal products.
Artificial colors like Red 40, Yellow 6 and Blue 1 will be phased out and replaced with colors made using spices and fruit and vegetable concentrates. The process will begin with Cocoa Puffs, Reese’s Puffs and Trix making the switch by the end of the year. The process will be completed in 2017.
Jim Murphy, the president of General Mills’ U.S. operations, told the Star Tribune that shoppers these days prefer food items that are made with natural ingredients, not “colors with numbers and ingredients you can’t pronounce.”
But will the cereals taste and look the same? Well, there might be some subtle changes. Certain sugary cereals, like Lucky Charms, feature marshmallows which are going to take some extra tinkering in order to maintain the look and taste of the original.
Murphy notes that “the look is important.”
“People taste with their eyes sometimes,” he says, adding that while the average customer won’t be able to notice most of the changes, some of the more colorful cereals (like Trix) may lose a bit of their luster. For instance, Trix will most likely lose its blue and green puffs, as it’s difficult to make blue food items with completely natural ingredients (also you can’t have green without blue!). Kate Gallagher, a cereal developer with General Mills, noted that Trix will be hit hard by the change. General Mills tried to use some natural dyes to retain that classic, vibrant color, but it had a negative effect on the flavor.
Hopefully they can get these problems sorted out soon, otherwise the Trix rabbit and Lucky the leprechaun will dye their cereals with blood.