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In the latest food-industry response to consumer demands for healthier fare, Minneapolis-based cereal giant General Mills has announced it will drop artificial colors and flavors from three of its leading brands by the end of the year, and clean up 90 percent of its cereal line by 2016 and the remainder by the end of 2017.

As Mike Hughlett reports in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, General Mills becomes the first major cereal maker in the U.S. to make this move, but follows similar decisions in recent months by Taco Bell, Subway, Nestlé, and Kraft. “Consumers increasingly want the ingredient list for their cereal to look like what they pull out of their pantry,” Jim Murphy, president of General Mills U.S. cereal business, told the newspaper. They don’t want labels chock-full of “colors with numbers and ingredients you can’t pronounce.”

Fans of Trix, Cocoa Puffs, and Reese’s Puffs will be the first to notice the absence of Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 1, and other artificial dyes, as General Mills begins the transition to a healthier cereal line. Murphy said the reformulation will not affect the flavor, but Trix lovers will no longer find green and blue cereal puffs in their bowl. Other colors will be replaced with a combination of turmeric and a concentrated juice made from radishes, strawberries, and blueberries.

General Mills controls about 30 percent of the cereal market in the U.S., but sales have been sluggish in recent years as consumers have increasingly sought healthier alternatives like Greek yogurt and eggs.

For more of Experience Life‘s coverage on artificial dyes, see:

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