Improvements touch all platforms, including Baking, Cereal, Dairy, Meals and Snacks
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – General Mills has improved the health profile of 73 percent of its U.S. Retail sales volume since 2005. These improvements include enhancing positive nutrition such as increasing protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, or reducing limiters such as calories, sodium, sugar and fat, all while ensuring great taste. In fiscal 2013 alone, the company improved more than 20 percent of its U.S. Retail sales volume and the nutritional improvements touched all General Mills U.S. Retail platforms, including Baking, Cereal, Dairy, Meals and Snacks.
Reductions in sodium and calories, and increases in whole grain were among the main health improvements General Mills achieved in fiscal 2013. As with past years, all reported improvements were significant, meaning a 10 percent or more improvement was achieved.
“Health is a core growth strategy for the company,” said Maha Tahiri, General Mills’ chief health and wellness officer who oversees the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition. “Since General Mills began tracking health improvements in fiscal 2005, we have made considerable progress. Today, we can point to more than 750 products, both new and reformulated, that have been influenced by our health metric criteria, spanning our entire portfolio and accounting for nearly three quarters of our fiscal 2013 U.S. Retail sales volume.”
In fiscal 2013, General Mills continued to make strong progress towards its goal of reducing sodium, on average, by 20 percent in its top 10 categories by 2015. This sodium reduction effort represents about 40 percent of the company’s U.S. Retail portfolio — everything from snacks to soups to side dishes. Fiscal 2013 improvements include sodium reductions of at least 10 percent in several shelf stable Green Giant vegetable offerings, as well as a number of Suddenly Salads and Helper dinners.
In addition, meaningful calorie reductions contributed to the overall Health Metric progress in fiscal 2013. One notable calorie reduction occurred in Yoplait Light, which was reduced to 90 calories. General Mills also introduced a new lower calorie dairy option – Yoplait Greek 100, with 100 calories and a Weight Watchers PointsPlus® value of two points per serving.
Increasing whole grain continues to be a focus area for General Mills given that 95 percent of Americans still aren’t getting enough whole grain in their diets. In fiscal 2013, the company continued to make progress in incorporating whole grain across its portfolio of products.
Innovation in General Mills’ Snacks category also contributed to Health Metric progress in fiscal 2013. New General Mills Snacks products offer important nutrients and taste great:
- Fiber One Protein Bars – In fiscal 2013, Fiber One launched Fiber One Protein Bars. Each chewy snack bar packs at least 20 percent of the Daily Value of Fiber and 10 percent of the Daily Value of protein per serving. The brand launched two flavors in fiscal 2013, Caramel Nut and Coconut Almond, and then extended the line this past summer to include Peanut Butter.
- Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownie Chocolate Chip – Also, in fiscal 2013, Fiber One launched a new 90 calorie brownie flavor, Chocolate Chip Cookie and then extended the line this past summer to include Lemon Bar and Cinnamon Coffee Cake. All Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies offer 20 percent Daily Value of fiber and are available in Chocolate Fudge, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Lemon Bar and Cinnamon Coffee Cake flavors.
- LÄRABAR ALT Bars – Using pea protein, LÄRABAR created a great-tasting bar called LÄRABAR ALT, “The Alternative Protein Bar™,” which was launched in fiscal 2013. LÄRABAR ALT bars deliver 10 grams of protein and come in four favors: Cinnamon Apple Crisp, Lemon Pound Cake, Peanut Butter Cookie and Pumpkin Pie.
General Mills’ Health Metric
Fiscal 2013 is General Mills’ ninth year of tracking and quantifying health improvements using the company’s “Health Metric” — a corporate initiative overseen by General Mills’ Health and Wellness Council and the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition — 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 hundreds of General Mills products in the U.S. have been improved in one or more of the following ways:
- Reducing calories, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar or sodium by 10 percent or more.
- Increasing beneficial nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and fiber, by 10 percent or more.
- Formulating products to include at least a half-serving of whole grain, fruit, vegetables or low or nonfat dairy.
- Formulating new products or reformulating existing products to meet specific internal requirements, including limiting calories, and meeting “healthy” criteria per labeled serving as defined by the FDA.
“General Mills has long had a focused health and wellness strategy and for many years we have been working to help our consumers lead healthier lifestyles,” said Tahiri. “We know consumers are focused on health, yet do not want to compromise the great taste they’ve come to expect from General Mills. So, as we improve the health profile of the foods people love and eat every day, we’ve found the most successful approach is a series of small, incremental changes. We are committed to continuing to make health improvements over time as we remain focused on delivering remarkable products.”
Nutrition expertise at General Mills
This year marks 50 years of having a dedicated nutrition department at General Mills. General Mills’ nutrition team, with experts focused on evidence-based nutrition science, have helped guide the development of corporate nutrition strategies and guidelines, including the company’s proprietary Health Metric.
In 1998, the General Mills nutrition department evolved into what today is known as the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition The Bell Institute’s mission, with its passionate team of doctorate-and master-level scientists and registered dietitians, helps influence the development of quality differentiated products that nourish lives and contribute to healthy living.
For a complete overview of General Mills’ commitment to health and wellness, download the company’s 2013 Global Responsibility Report
Contact: Kris Patton, General Mills
About General Mills
General Mills is one of the world’s leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries around the world. Its brands include Cheerios, Fiber One, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki, and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., USA, General Mills had fiscal 2013 worldwide sales of US $17.8 billion.