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General Mills To Drop Artificial Ingredients From Cereals

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- General Mills announced Monday that it's dropping artificial colors and flavors from more of its cereals.

The Golden Valley-based company says it's what their customers want.

About 60 percent of General Mills cereals already have no artificial colors or flavors.

But joining the list this winter will be Trix, Reese's Puffs and Cocoa Puffs. Lucky Charms and Count Chocula will follow suit in the next year and a half.

"Forty-nine percent of consumers are consciously avoiding artificial flavors and colors," said Lauren Pradhan, a company spokesperson. "So we felt that cereal is a great choice for families, and if these ingredients are stopping them from enjoying those cereals, then we wanted to make this change."

General Mills spent three years researching ways to drop artificial ingredients without losing flavor and color.

"We've looked at hundreds of colors, we've tried hundreds of bowls of cereals, we've brought in kids and parents to try our recipes," Pradhan said. "We've received that feedback and worked on them even further."

In the past, the cereal maker relied on artificial dyes like Red 40 or Yellow 6 or Blue 1 to get those vibrant colors.

"We are moving from Red 40 and now looking at a blend of strawberries, blueberries and radishes," Pradhan said.

In the future, the company is turning to the extracts of colorful fruits, vegetables and spices. However, General Mills says the taste of its cereals won't change.

"For our fruity cereals, such as Trix, there will be a color change," Pradhan said. "Instead of the six colors, there will be four. We are losing blue and green."

With Trix, they couldn't duplicate the color without changing the taste, so they dropped blue and green.

As for Reese's Puffs, they are removing an artificial color and artificial vanilla, and instead using real vanilla.

"More and more people are just trying to understand what is in the food they are eating and looking for more pantry-friendly ingredients," Pradhan said. "We really think this change will be positively received by all those parents."

General Mills says consumers will not see a change in price when the first boxes of the new Trix and Reese's Puffs hit store shelves in December or January.

In recent months, several food companies have announced that they are removing artificial ingredients.

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