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Nov 22, 2010

General Mills announces health improvements

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25 percent of U.S. Retail sales volume improved in fiscal 2010

General Mills announced today that it improved the health profile of products comprising 25 percent of its U.S. Retail sales in fiscal 2010.   Improvements have included adding whole grains, fiber and calcium, and reducing calories, sugar, sodium and trans fats.

“Our goal is to provide nutritious foods that — when combined with exercise and activity — can help people live longer, healthier lives,” said Marc Belton, executive vice president, global strategy, growth and marketing innovation for General Mills, “and we’re by no means finished.  Consumers are responding very strongly to great-tasting, healthy foods, and we’re going to continue to push the envelope on improving the nutrition profile of our many products.”

General Mills Health Metric
The improvements are tracked and quantified using General Mills’ “Health Metric,” created by the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition as a way to encourage and measure the company’s progress on nutrition and health improvements.  Since 2005, when General Mills first implemented its Health Metric, the nutrition profiles of more than 500 different General Mills products have been improved in one or more of the following ways:

1. Increasing beneficial nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and fiber.
2. Reducing calories, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar or sodium.
3. Formulating products to include at least a half serving of whole grain, fruit, vegetables or low or nonfat dairy.
4. Meeting the FDA guidelines for a product to be considered healthy.

General Mills furthered its commitment in December, announcing that it had already reduced sugar in cereals advertised to children to 11 grams of sugar or less per serving, and committed to reduce sugar on all cereals advertised to children under 12 to single-digit levels of grams of sugar per serving. A similar commitment by Cereal Partners Worldwide, General Mills’ cereal joint venture outside the United States, extended the sugar reduction initiative globally to 130 countries.

In April, General Mills announced an acceleration of its goals to reduce sodium by 20 percent across multiple product categories by 2015. The company also detailed successful reductions already implemented on a number of products, including a 16 percent sodium reduction in both Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios, a more than 25 percent sodium reduction in select Progresso soups, and a 36 percent sodium reduction across the Chex Snack Mix line.

“Every day on every product the health metric motivates us to think about what positive health and nutrition changes can be made big or small,” said Susan Crockett, Ph.D., R.D., FADA, and leader of the General Mills Bell Institute. “Importantly, our new and improved products still deliver the great taste consumers love.  But equally important, we are also making products healthier – and our ability to deliver improvements on products representing 25 percent of our 2010 U.S. Retail sales is a real accomplishment.”

General Mills continues to make health and wellness a priority across its product portfolio.  Nearly 60 percent of the company’s U.S. Retail sales are comprised of products that have been nutritionally improved since 2005.

New 2010 products deliver on health
General Mills’ commitment to health innovation continues with this year’s introduction of several new products:

  • Green Giant, the largest branded vegetable manufacturer in the United States, expanded its successful line of Valley Fresh Steamers with Sauce by adding Healthy Colors, a premium blend of colorful vegetables providing an excellent source of the antioxidants vitamins A and C.
  • Total introduced Total Plus Omega-3s Honey Almond Flax cereal, which offers all of the nutrition of Total, plus the benefit of omega-3 ALA.
  • Yoplait yogurt’s newest launch, Yoplait Splitz, provides a good source of calcium and vitamin D at only 90 calories a serving.
  • New Nature Valley Granola Thins are 100 percent natural at just 80 to 90 calories per square.
  • Progresso introduced the first creamy light soup, with a Weight Watchers POINTS® value of 1 per serving.  Progresso also added new varieties to its fiber and low sodium soup lines.

General Mills said its commitment to making lives healthier will continue with products such as whole grain cereals, Lärabar energy bars, and organic food like Cascadian Farm fruits, as well as Yoplait yogurt, Progresso soups, and Green Giant vegetables.  For a complete overview of General Mills’ commitment to health and wellness, download the company’s 2010 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, released earlier this year, at GeneralMills.com.

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, Yoplait, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, 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.

For More Information:

Maerenn Jepsen
General Mills
763-764-6364