Goodbye blue Trix: General Mills removing artificial colors, flavors from cereal

General Mills said it will remove artificial colors and flavors from its cereals

Brightly colored Trix cereal might look a bit different this winter.

General Mills, which makes Trix, Lucky Charms and Cheerios, said Monday it plans to remove artificial colors and flavors from all of its cereals by the end of 2017.

The company said more than 60% of its cereals, including Cinnamon Toast Crunch and original Cheerios, do not have artificial flavors or colors.

The Minneapolis-based company is the latest in a slew of other food manufacturers and restaurant chains pledging to use more natural alternatives in their products in response to changing consumer tastes.

According to a Nielsen survey conducted on behalf of General Mills, 49% of households are trying to avoid artificial flavors and colors.

"With cereal being in 90% of households today, we want to make changes like this so it will be on tables for the next 100 years,” said Lauren Pradhan, wellness manager for the cereal division at General Mills.

Trix and Reese's Puffs will be two of the first cereals to change, according to the company.

The company said it will use ingredients such as fruit and vegetable juices, along with spice extracts like turmeric and annatto, instead of red 40 and yellow 6.

The updated Trix also will be limited to four colors — red, yellow, orange and purple, which is similar to the original recipe launched years ago, Pradhan said. The company did not find a suitable replacement for the blue and green colors currently in the cereal, but it will continue to work on these flavors after the launch, she said.

The look of Reese's Puffs will change little, Pradhan said. Instead of artificial vanilla, the cereal will use natural vanilla for flavoring as part of the peanut butter and chocolate cereal medley.

Cereal enthusiasts can expect to see these updated products on shelves in January.

The most difficult cereal to change? Marshmallow medleys like Lucky Charms, which won't be ready until 2017.

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