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General Mills reports progress on improving nutrition and health profiles

Douglas Yu

By Douglas Yu+

Last updated on 15-Apr-2016 at 12:26 GMT2016-04-15T12:26:40Z

General Mills this week published its 2016 Global Responsibility report
General Mills this week published its 2016 Global Responsibility report

General Mills - which has pledged to remove all artificial ingredients from its cereals by the end of 2017 - this week reported that 77% of its Big G cereal portfolio now used no flavors or colors from artificial sources.

The company's latest global responsibility report also flags up that the company removed artificial ingredients from all its Nature Valley Granola Bars, Mott’s and Equity Fruit Snacks and Betty Crocker cookies mixes last year.

And by the end of 2015, General Mills had met or exceeded its sodium commitment goal  in seven of ten categories, and made progress in the other three.

“To date, more than 1,000 products have been nutritionally improved since we implemented our US Health Metric in 2005,” General Mills chief health and wellness officer Maha Tahiri told BakeryandSnacks.

Role of food in their overall health

Consumers are increasingly focused on the role of food in their overall health and wellness, she added.

“Some seek foods that are gluten-free or rich in protein, while others want products that contain fewer ingredients or foods that are certified organic," said Tahiri.

Although nutrition is one of the major factors that influence the way people purchase foods, General Mills said it also faces challenges as consumers around the world want food that is also convenient and affordable.

“There are challenges to achieving this imperative, ranging from hunger and malnutrition to obesity,” said Tahiri. “We believe proper nutrition is essential for overall health and wellness.”

Sustainable sourcing

General Mills has also made commitments to sustainable sourcing, in 2013 pledging to sustainably source 100% of 10 priority ingredients by 2020. These represent more than half the the company’s annual raw materials purchases and range from palm oil to wheat, oats, cocoa, dairy and corn.

General Mills said the most significant process to date had been on fiber packaging (99%) and palm oil (100%), and almost half the company's vanilla, sugar cane and US sugar beets were now sustainably sourced.

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