General Mills achieves further sugar reductions in cereals
Sugar successfully reduced an additional 8 percent, on average, on cereals advertised to children; Big G “committed to continuing to reduce sugar” to single-digit levels per serving
General Mills said today it successfully reduced sugar in cereals advertised to children by an additional 8 percent, on average, in 2010. General Mills has now achieved average sugar reductions of 14 percent on cereals advertised to children since 2007, with some cereals reduced as much as 28 percent in that period.
One year ago, General Mills committed to reduce sugar in all Big G cereals advertised to children under 12 to “single-digit levels of grams of sugar per serving.” It also announced that all such cereals had been reduced to 11 grams of sugar or less per serving at that time.
Today, exactly one year later, General Mills announced its continuing progress, saying shipments of Big G cereals advertised to children will all be at 10 grams of sugar or less per serving by Dec. 31, with some already at 9 grams of sugar.
General Mills also repeated its pledge of one year ago, committing to further reduce sugar until single-digit levels are reached on all cereals advertised to children under 12.
“We are making real progress,” said Jeff Harmening, president of General Mills’ Big G cereal division. “We think consumers will be very pleased, because we are reducing sugar and our cereals still taste great.”
Ready-to-eat cereals, including sweetened cereals, account for a relatively small amount of a child’s sugar intake — less than 5 percent on average. “Still, we know that some consumers would prefer to see cereals that are even lower in sugar,” Harmening explained. “Consumers know that cereals are already low in calories, but we think consumers will be pleased that they now have lower sugar too.”
Big G has not only been reducing sugar in cereals, but also increasing key nutrients. For example, General Mills led the way in fortifying its entire line of children’s cereals with calcium and vitamin D in 2008. Now, all General Mills Big G kid cereals deliver at least 10 percent of the Daily Value for calcium and vitamin D.
General Mills is also the industry leader in whole grain cereals, with every Big G cereal providing at least 8 grams of whole grain per serving, and more than 20 General Mills cereals delivering 16 grams or more.
Today, General Mills’ cereals provide America with more whole grain at breakfast than any other breakfast food from any other manufacturer. As a result, Big G cereals are America’s No. 1 source of whole grain at breakfast.
General Mills’ whole grain conversion across its entire Big G cereal line is one of the most notable health and nutrition commitments in the food industry.
“It’s important,” noted Harmening. “We feel General Mills can lead the way by innovating to make even better tasting cereals with lower sugar levels – and we are going to continue until we reach our single-digit goal.”
Ready-to-eat cereals are a top source of key nutrients in children’s diets, delivering important vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients, such as vitamins A, B6, iron, niacin and zinc. Forty percent of kids’ milk consumption, on average, is with cereal – and cereal eaters of all ages also consume less fat, less cholesterol and more fiber than non cereal eaters.
“Ready-to-eat cereal really is one of the best breakfast choices you could make,” said Susan Crockett, Ph. D., vice president, Health and Nutrition, and director of the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition at General Mills. “Studies demonstrate that frequent cereal eaters tend to have healthier body weights, including both kids and adults who eat sweetened cereals. And when you improve a product as important as ready-to-eat cereal, by adding whole grain or reducing sugar, you can meaningfully impact health and nutrition. The science is consistent.”
But taste is number one.
“Taste will never be compromised – or lowering sugar levels would go for naught,” explains Harmening. “To be successful with consumers, big changes like these must be made in a series of small steps that consumers accept and embrace, because taste rules. You can be certain that we are going to maintain the great taste that Big G cereal consumers love,” adds Harmening. “That’s a promise.”
About General Mills
One of the world’s leading food companies, General Mills operates in more than 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, Yoplait, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills had fiscal 2010 global net sales of US$16 billion, including the company’s $1.2 billion proportionate share of joint venture net sales.
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