May 25, 2017

2 Min Read
General Mills Facing Outrage over Switch to Natural Colors
A version of Trix released around 2014. Image courtesy of Flickr user Jeepersmedia

As food makers across the United States reformulate products to meet the demands of changing consumer perferences toward healthy and simple ingredients, in one case consumers are showing that products that transition away from traditional recipies and formats are not always well received. 

Fox News on Wednesday pointed out that Minneapolis, MN-based General Mills' switch to natural colors and flavors in Trix cereal is generating outrage from fans of the brand, who are taking to social media to express their complaints on the new look and taste.

General Mills pledged to remove artificial flavors and colors from its cereal products in June 2015, aiming to use natural ingredients in 90% of its brands by the end of 2016. At the time of the company's annoucement, about 60% of the company's cereals were made without artificial flavors and colors.

"With our consumers, it reached a tipping point in the past couple years with the trend toward simpler food," said president of General Mills' cereal division, Jim Murphy, in a 2015 press release announcing the initiative. "I remember the meeting where we all looked at each other and said 'We're just done with these, we're going to do the whole line.'"

The gripes center on the colors and flavor of Trix, with many chiding General Mills for meddling with a classic childhood favorite.

"I def miss the #Trix cereal of my childhood. THEN NOW," tweeted Cameron Jones (@Para_Mystery), including a photo offering a side-by-side comparison of the products. Another person posted a picture of box of original Trix, commenting, "This is what Trix should've remained as @GeneralMills. You think ruining a childhood classic will make healthy people eat Trix?"

Twitter user @itsbeccaaa posted Thursday, "I was so hungry for Trix the other day, but Trix don't even taste like Trix anymore" with a crying emoji face.

When General Mills announced its initiative to switch to non-artificial colors and flavors, the company said it conducts extensive research and recipe adjustments to ensure the product works with consumers of all ages.


"We have been wroking relentlessly to make sure these cereals taste like what people are used to eating," said Kate Gallager, research and development manager for the firm's cereal division, in a 2015 release. 

Change is never easy, particilarly when it comes to food and beverage products. An attempt by Coca-Cola to change the formula of its classic soft drink in the 1980s resulted in a massive backlash and scores of complaints. The Atlanta beverage firm eventually went back to its original recipe.

Whether General Mills will rethink its decision to change Trix and its other cereals is unclear, but some are viewing the changes and complaints about "new Trix" with a grain of sand.

"The new Trix cereal is ruining my childhood" says Adult currently eating cereal advertised as "for kids," Twitter user Mike Robertson (@rikemobertson) wrote.


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