Your Lucky Charms still brim with sugar, but as of 2017, the will no longer have artificial colors and flavorings. General Mills just joined the BigFood fray to eliminate artificial things from their products.
To break this down a bit, HuffPo reports General Mills is only addressing their cereal line. Currently, 60 percent of their cereals already are free of artificial colors and/or flavorings. They hope to get 90 percent free by the end of 2016, so they are only eliminating these chemicals in 30 percent of their current offerings. Meh.
I know this is good, we are moving in the right direction, we are taking manufactured flavor enhancers and day-glow color schemes out of our food (hey Cheetos I’m looking at you). Industry pressure from a few crazy bloggers (ahem, Food Babe) to think tanks with real data have finally educated enough consumers to ask for less crap. Nestle and Kraft recently made similar pledges. But I keep wondering, is this just smoke and mirrors? Are they telling us they’re do-gooders over here and hoping we don’t look at other areas in their product lines? Do they hope a certain amount of goodwill (the minimum needed) will be enough to call off the watchdogs so they can go back to their usual ways? Does anyone sincerely want to bring change to these huge conglomerates?
OK, so we’re still eating processed food but it has a few fewer chemicals in it now. That’s good, it’s a step in the right direction. Marketing gurus have read the tea leaves and consumer polls and changed their ways, a little. Where do we go from here? As the food movement continues to grow, will be happy with a few first steps or will we continue to press our case?
We believe in positive pressure to improve our food. Let’s face it, the burden is on us. WE must keep the pressure on these corporations with increased market pressure and with our wallets. We must choose healthier products over, well, crap. Ultimately the healthiest way to eat is to cook meals at home with fresh meat and produce and eliminate BigFood’s existence, pretty sure they won’t go quietly into the night though. Plus they do have a place for those who can’t/won’t cook, I’m thinking especially of harried overworked parents, the elderly, and institutions such as colleges and hospitals.
What do you think of the latest victories, from WholeFoods eliminating GMOs to the latest General Mills update? Do you think it’s enough? How do you contribute to the change happening in the BigFood industry today? I’d truly love to hear your thoughts.