Oct 30, 2013 • By

Health improvements across all U.S. categories

This year marks the 50th year that General Mills has had a dedicated nutrition department that has helped guide the development of our company’s nutrition guidelines.

Health metric

Today known as the General Mills’ Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition, the company continues to have a passionate team of doctorate-and master-level scientists and registered dietitians that helps influence the development of products that nourish lives and contribute to healthy living.

This focus on health is apparent each year as we publically report our “Health Metric” results, which account for the progress we’ve made throughout the fiscal year in improving the health profile of our products.

Again in fiscal 2013, our progress has been remarkable.

Since 2005, when we first started tracking and measuring our health improvements using our Health Metric, we have improved the nutritional profile of nearly three-quarters of our U.S. Retail sales volume.

That accounts for more than 750 new or reformulated products that meet one or more of the following criteria:

-Reducing calories, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar or sodium by 10 percent or more;

-Increasing beneficial nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and fiber, by 10 percent or more; or

-Formulating products to include at least a half-serving of whole grain, fruit, vegetables or low or nonfat dairy.

Health metric

In fiscal 2013 alone, which ended on May 26, we achieved nutritional improvements in more than 20 percent of our U.S. Retail sales volume.

Most exciting, these improvements touched all General Mills U.S. Retail platforms, including Baking, Cereal, Dairy, Meals and Snacks.

Health metric

Reductions in sodium and calories, and increases in whole grain were among the main health improvements General Mills achieved in fiscal 2013.

Here are some examples of health improvements made last year:

Sodium reductions

In fiscal 2013, General Mills continued to make strong progress towards its goal of reducing sodium, on average, by 20 percent in its top 10 categories by 2015. This sodium reduction effort represents about 40 percent of the company’s U.S. Retail portfolio — everything from snacks to soups to side dishes.

Fiscal 2013 improvements include sodium reductions of at least 10 percent in several shelf stable Green Giant vegetable offerings, as well as a number of Suddenly Salads and Helper dinners.

Calorie reductions

In addition, meaningful calorie reductions contributed to the overall Health Metric progress in fiscal 2013. One notable calorie reduction occurred in Yoplait Light, which was reduced to 90 calories. General Mills also introduced a new lower calorie dairy option – Yoplait Greek 100, with 100 calories and a Weight Watchers PointsPlus value of two points per serving.

Whole grain increases

Increasing whole grain continues to be a focus area for General Mills given that ninety-five percent of Americans still aren’t getting enough whole grain in their diets. In fiscal 2013, the company continued to make progress in incorporating whole grain across its portfolio of products.

“General Mills has long had a focused health and wellness strategy and for many years, we have been working to help our consumers lead healthier lifestyles,” says Maha Tahiri, chief health and wellness officer, who oversees the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition.

“We know consumers are focused on health, yet do not want to compromise the great taste they’ve come to expect from General Mills. So, as we improve the health profile of the foods people love and eat every day, we’ve found the most successful approach is a series of small, incremental changes. We are committed to continuing to make health improvements over time as we remain focused on delivering remarkable products.”

Read the news release about our latest Health Metric results. And, for a complete overview of General Mills’ commitment to health and wellness, download the company’s 2013 Global Responsibility Report at GeneralMills.com.

Also, for a broader look at our health improvement progress over the years, read our Health Metric blog posts from 2011 and 2012.