General Mills has announced it will remove artificial flavors and colors from its entire fruit snack portfolio by the end of 2017.
The mega food company says that 20 percent of its fruit snacks are already free of artificial flavors and colors, and in the next two years it will work to do the same with its Scooby-Doo! and SpongeBob-shaped character fruit snacks, followed by its Betty Crocker fruit-flavored shapes portfolio. The company has a number of brands that will need to be reworked to ensure color and flavor consistency.
“Big changes like this are challenging, but we have made great progress. We have amazing people working on these challenges, and we feel confident that they can figure this out. It’s just going to take some time,” Jacquie Klein, senior marketing manager of fruit-flavored snacks at General Mills, said to FoodNavigator-USA.
The change will take two to three years to implement because of the number of products it impacts. But, Klein says, the company felt “the time was right to work to extend this same approach across all of our General Mills fruit-flavored snacks.”
General Mills has already taken steps to give its breakfast brands a facelift. The company said in June that it would remove all artificial colors and flavors from its cereal brands by 2017. What’s more, its breakfast food rival Kellogg announced at the beginning of August that it plans to remove artificial colors and flavors from its cereal brands and snack bars by 2018.
“Consumers increasingly want the ingredient list for their cereal to look like what they pull out of their pantry,” Jim Murphy, president of General Mills U.S. cereal business, told the Star Tribune, stating that consumers don’t want labels full of “colors with numbers and ingredients you can’t pronounce.”
And although it will take the company some time to rework the recipes and get the flavors just right, a March 2014 survey revealed that 50 percent of lapsed and current fruit snack consumers would be more likely to purchase products made without artificial flavors and colors.
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Image: Windell Oskay