The world is changing when the Trix cereal rabbit settles down (see cereal cartons below).
And, the word is changing when America finally catches up with Europe on food safety issues. Well, at least it catches up on some of the issues, notably eliminating artificial additives by some U.S. food companies, in some of their products.
At ACN we recognize that many parents struggle to ensure that their children can enjoy snacks and occasional treats when on special diets. It’s also important that kids feel “less different” in social settings, and having food options helps. With this in mind, changes by food companies to eliminate artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives are good news. Beyond that, families should look for the healthiest version of these foods (i.e.,the least amount of sugar, the least processed) among the additive-free versions available.
We often advise parents who are just starting to read labels: For a snack, don’t give your kids Doritos that are loaded with chemical additives, just have have potato chips instead. As an example of food-progress, FritoLay now makes an organic ruffled potato chip (simply uses organic potatoes, expeller pressed organic sunflower oil, and sea salt). There are a few other organic brands as well.
A sign of the times: General Mills’ Trix cereal is now additive-free, and Kraft’s Jell-O brand has a couple of “natural” puddings and gelatin desserts. Last year, amid great advertising hoopla, Kraft removed additives and preservatives from their traditional Macaroni and Cheese.
Of course this doesn’t mean that any of these are healthful. But it shows that consumer demand is making a positive difference at last.
Almost humorously, General Mills boasts on their website that they have made these adjustments, among others:
We are now using “delicious ingredients like real honey in Honey Nut Cheerios and real cinnamon in Cinnamon Toast Crunch.”
Did they really have to have to use chemical versions of these common key ingredients, honey and cinnamon, all these years?
General Mills also reports that they no longer use high fructose corn syrup, they have removed artificial flavors and colors from 90% of cereals, and have reduced sugars in some products as well.
For those looking for gluten-free items, General Mills continues to develop new offerings. They have also bought organic brands: Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm, and Annie’s. (Let’s hope they honor what is best in each of these brands.) See a list of General Mills organic and/or natural brands.
Trix is a classic example of a relatively improved product from General Mills, and the rabbit on the boxes reflects the change. Of course it remains a highly processed item with high sugars compared to Nature’s Path cereals, which are always organic and which both kids and adults appreciate.
For continued change we need to keep the pressure up. FoodBabe and Center for Science in the Public Interest are two key groups that have promoted more nutritious foods in the USA. Whenever they have health-related petitions we will continue to pass them along to you. Meanwhile our friends at Feingold.org continue to make a real impact in their dedicated movement to eliminate food additives.