Cereal team celebrates milestone
We’re in the middle of a milestone month for the General Mills Cereal division. As of today, 75 percent of our cereals no longer include artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources.
This month alone, we’ve released seven cereals with new recipes. So if you’ve strolled through the cereal aisle lately, you’ve probably noticed the newest changes to our lineup.
New packaging for the cereals highlights that they have no artificial flavors, no colors from artificial sources, and no high fructose corn syrup. The seven cereals are Trix, Reese’s Puffs, Cocoa Puffs, Golden Grahams, Chocolate Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios and Fruity Cheerios.
“We want people to be able to see that label and ingredient list and feel better about what they are eating and serving their families,” says Kate Gallager, research and development manager, Cereal. “A lot of time went into making sure that our products still taste great.”
In addition to the new look for our cereals, there’s also a new way that the team is getting the word out to drive awareness of the recipe changes and our commitment.
It’s a campaign, called “Again,” which encourages people to not just like our cereal, but love it … again. Watch the commercial, here.
(See a longer version of the video, here.)
“The Again video is about everyday moments that parents enjoy with their children, shown through the eyes of a child,” says Steve Bruch, associate marketing manager, Cereal. “That’s what I think makes it really special. Kids can find the most joy out of the things we adults sometimes take for granted. It’s very much about that childhood joy – when they love something they want it again.”
And the nostalgic video helps people remember how they enjoyed cereal.
“Cereal is in 90 percent of households. We all grew up with it. We all loved it. Yet, our tastes and preferences change constantly. We wanted to update our recipes to deliver what people want in their cereal today” says Steve.
It was this understanding that inspired the General Mills Cereal team to make the product improvements.
We announced the commitment last June, but a lot of work was already going on behind the scenes – for several years – before the news was shared.
“This started at least four years ago, where we were really starting to look at what ingredients we could utilize to deliver on the no colors from artificial sources goal. What are some of those alternative sources of color – like vegetables, fruits and spice extracts?” says Kate. “Then the application and really heavy recipe development work began in the fall of 2014. We’ve been at this now for well over a year and without a lot of context it seems like ‘Oh, it’s just a year to start working on this,’ but it took a year across some pretty big cereals where color was central to the product identity.”
Not to mention figuring out how to integrate the ingredient changes into production on a mass scale.
According to Kate, the team:
-Investigated at least 69 colors and 86 flavors
-Did around 98 tastings
-Completed approximately 301 recipe experiments
-Spent nearly 140 hours listening to consumers about the products
“There is more to do, but I could not be more proud of the relentless determination of our team to ensure these favorite cereals are delicious and use the ingredients people are looking for today,” says Lauren Pradhan, senior marketing manager, Cereal Portfolio Wellness.
Kate says that while her team’s current focus is on removing artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources from the remainder of the cereal portfolio, she still wants to revisit options for reviving the green and blue colors for the iconic colorful cereals.
“We’re not done, we just started this and we’re going to continue to renovate our products in meaningful ways for the consumers, and I think one of those is figuring out how can we bring back some of those colors that, in the initial part, we took out,” she says. “That’s not going to happen in the next year, but it’s definitely something that we would love to start to tackle again once we get through the remainder of our products.”
For now, General Mills is excited to share these new cereals with consumers and celebrate that they’re one step closer to having all General Mills cereals free of artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources by the end of 2017.
“Cereal continues to be on a journey to always be better,” says Lauren. “I am incredibly excited for these new, delicious recipes to hit shelves.”
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