New packaging for the seven cereals - Trix, Reese’s Puffs, Cocoa Puffs, Golden Grahams, Chocolate Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios and Fruity Cheerios – highlights that they contain no artificial flavors, no colors from artificial sources, and no high fructose corn syrup.
The launch comes six months after General Mills – whose cereals portfolio was then around 60% free-from artificial additives - pledged to take that figure to 75% by this month. The company aims to have all its cereals free of artificial flavors and colors by 2017.
General Mills first began looking at natural sources of color around four years ago, said Kate Gallager, the company’s research & development manager for cereal.
“We were starting to look at what ingredients we could utilize to deliver on the no colors from artificial sources goal,” she added. “What are some of those alternative sources of color – like vegetables, fruits and spice extracts?”
Gallager said the application and “heavy recipe development” work began in the fall of 2014, adding that her team had investigated at least 69 colors and 86 flavors, completed 301 recipe experiments, held 98 tastings and spent nearly 140 hours listening to consumers about the products.
Still seeking alternatives
The business has not yet been able to find suitable alternatives for all colors – particularly green and blue – but hopes to do so eventually.
“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 added. “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.”
General Mills backing relaunch with marketing push
Today’s cereals relaunch is being supported by new marketing campaign ‘Again’ featuring a nostalgic video that General Mills is hoping will help people remember how much they enjoyed cereal and “encourage people to not just like our cereal, but love it … again”.
The business will also be hoping it – and the new recipes – can help revive the fortunes of the ailing breakfast cereals market.
“Cereal is in 90% of households,” said Steve Bruch, General Mills associate marketing manager for cereal. “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.”