General Mills ahead on health improvements

by Eric Schroeder
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MINNEAPOLIS — General Mills, Inc. said it has improved the health profile of 68% of its U.S. Retail sales volume since 2005. In fiscal 2012 alone, the company said it improved nearly 16% of its U.S. Retail sales volume, with improvements ranging from adding more whole grains, fiber and calcium, to reducing calories, sugar, sodium and trans fat. General Mills first began tracking and quantifying health improvements in 2005.

“Health improvements have increasingly become a primary driver of our innovation, both on existing products and as we develop new products,” said Marc Belton, executive vice-president of global strategy, growth and marketing innovation. “We know that people expect great taste from our products, so we are careful to balance strong health benefits and health improvements with great taste. But it would be accurate to say that General Mills is squarely focused on health, because we know that consumers have come to know and expect that from General Mills.”

Increasing whole grains content was a major reformulation milestone for General Mills during fiscal 2012 as the company now lists whole grain as the first ingredient on the Nutrition Facts Panel of every box of Big G cereal. Every Big G cereal now contains at least 9 grams of whole grain per serving, and more than 20 General Mills cereals deliver at least 16 grams.

The company also accomplished multiple sodium reductions across its portfolio of products in fiscal 2012, including cutting sodium by at least 10% in several Chex Mix varieties, several Big G cereals, and a number of Hamburger Helper dinners.

Elsewhere, General Mills is providing more options for consumers to get their fiber through the launch of Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies, which provide 20% of the recommended Daily Value of fiber with 5 grams of fiber per serving, and continues to reduce sugar and fat in certain products. During fiscal 2012, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cookie Crisp and Cookie Crisp Sprinkles were reformulated from 10 grams to 9 grams of sugar per serving, and several Pillsbury biscuits and crescents varieties were reformulated to remove trans fat.

“Improving the health profile of products is technically challenging given the multiple roles ingredients play in a recipe, so it takes time, investment and technical achievement to get it right,” said Susan Crockett, Ph.D., R.D., FADA and leader of the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition. “Today’s announcement again demonstrates that General Mills is committed to improving the health profile of our products without making consumers compromise taste for health.”

Continuing with its focus on health and wellness, General Mills has introduced several new products in fiscal 2013, including Yoplait Greek 100, Green Giant Seasoned Steamers, and Cascadian Farm Ancient Grains Granola.

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READER COMMENTS (1)

By greg fischer 8/24/2012 10:34:51 AM
Interesting article