Category Archives: General Mills

General Mills going green?

General Mills Going GreenHere at FoodFacts.com we understand that sometimes it takes a little convincing to help major food manufacturers clean up their act. But regardless of what motivates a mainstream industry player to commit to product and process improvement, we’re still in favor of giving credit where it’s due. So today we want to acknowledge General Mills for just such an effort.

We should first discuss the “Behind the Brands” campaign from Oxfam America. Oxfam America is a global organization working to right the wrongs of poverty, hunger, and injustice and their “Behind the Brands” campaign tried to encourage manufacturers to commit to climate change strategies.

Food giant General Mills has announced industry-leading initiatives on climate change.

Oxfam gathered over 230,000 signatures on petitions for General Mills alone as part of their campaign. Along with Kellogg, the two companies are at the bottom of the big 10 food corporations on addressing the problem.

As a result, Cheerios, Betty Crocker, Haagen-Dazs, Green Giant and other well-known General Mills brands publicly will advocate for action and clean up their operations and supply chains.

The company said it will sustainably source 100 percent of its 10 priority ingredients by 2020 — half its raw material purchases. And it’s committing to long-term science-based targets — those that keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees C. These targets include a clear commitment to address its supply chain, which generates 92 percent of its emissions from agricultural ingredients and packaging.

Palm oil and pulp and paper industries are the leading cause of deforestation, accounting for almost 85 percent of Indonesia’s carbon emissions — the third highest in the world. 2.5 million acres a year are clear cut, releasing more carbon than all the cars, trucks, planes and ships in the United States combined.

Supply chain targets also will include direct emissions (such as dairy farms), water use, waste, packaging and transportation.

To advocate for strong policy, General Mills signed the Climate Declaration and joined Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), which is working to pass meaningful climate and energy legislation.

“This would not have happened without the remarkable outpouring of public action from individuals who are fed up with the lack of effort to address climate change from too many food companies and governments,” said Monique van Zijl, who manages Oxfam’s Behind the Brands campaign.

General Mills said it lost 62 days of production in the first quarter alone from extreme weather. “Too many of today’s food and beverage giants are crossing their fingers and hoping that climate change won’t disrupt the food system, imagining somebody else will fix it. The ‘Big 10′ companies generate over $1 billion a day and have great power to influence global food chains,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam.

General Mills said it will:
1. Set and disclose emission-reduction targets for its total supply chain by August 2015, with a focus on agriculture.
2. Aim for net-zero deforestation in high-risk supply chains — palm oil, packaging fiber, beef, soy, sugar cane — by 2020.
3. Disclose top three suppliers of palm oil and sugar cane.
4. Participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project, including annual reports on supply chain emissions data and forest health.
5. Publicly advocate for effective public and industry policy, such as encouraging peers to join the Consumer Goods Forum’s net-zero deforestation commitment.
6. Join BICEP and sign the Climate Declaration.
7. Regularly review company statements and policies to ensure alignment with mitigation targets and initiatives.

Kellogg is next on Oxfam’s list, so far refusing to take serious action. “We applaud General Mills for taking this vital first step,” said van Zijl. “We look forward to tracking the actions the company takes to follow through on their promises. The ball is now in Kellogg’s court to respond to the hundreds of thousands of people calling for climate action.”

FoodFacts.com wants to add our own applause for General Mills. We would like to remind them, however, that this is just one step towards improving their brand. There’s plenty more that the company can do to make its products more appealing to conscious consumers. General Mills might want to think about tackling its ingredient difficulties next. Just a thought, General Mills. Betty Crocker might be a good place to start.

http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/07/31/will-general-mills-become-green-giant

GMO-free original Cheerios coming to a grocery store near you

If you’re concerned about purchasing products containing probable GMO ingredients, you’ll want to make note of this story.

General Mills Inc. has announced that it has begun producing original Cheerios WITHOUT any genetically modified ingredients. The 73-year-old breakfast cereal is one of the highest-profile brands to make this change, responding to the growing number of complaints in regard to the use of genetically modified ingredients in packaged foods.

This change is only being made to original Cheerios. Other varieties, like Honey Nut Cheerios, Multi-Grain Cheerios and Apple Cinnamon Cheerios are still being manufactured using the same ingredients. General Mills began working towards this change in the manufacturing of original Cheerios about a year ago and began the actual manufacturing process of the GMO-free cereal several weeks ago. They are stating that they expect the new product to be available to consumers “shortly,” once the products have made their way through the distribution system and onto shelves nationwide.

You’ll be able to identify the new GMO-free version of the cereal easily. These Cheerios will carry the label “Not Made With Genetically Modified Ingredients.” General Mills does note, however, that the product could contain trace amounts due to contamination in shipping or manufacturing.

We know that the FoodFacts.com community is well-versed in the debate regarding GMO ingredients in our food supply. GMO critics are calling this major move by Cheerios a victory in the fight against the use of genetically modified ingredients. There are initiatives proposed in several states calling for the labeling of GMO ingredients in our food supply.

While many advocacy groups have petitioned major food manufacturers to change their policies and begin producing their brands without the use of genetically modified ingredients, most large companies have rejected these efforts. They argue that there is no proof of health concerns resulting from the use of GMOs. Most are also against GMO labeling, saying that this would be a costly measure and reinforces a misconception about genetically modified ingredients.

General Mills spokesperson Mike Siemienas stated that “There is broad consensus that food containing GMOs is safe, but we decided to move forward with this in response to consumer demand.” Because the primary ingredient in Cheerios is oats, a crop that isn’t grown from genetically modified seeds, the transition just required General Mills to find new sources of cornstarch and sugar.

“Even that required significant investment,” Mr. Siemienas said. He didn’t provide a figure, but said that the hurdles would make it “difficult, if not impossible” to make Honey Nut Cheerios and other varieties without GMOs.

GMO Inside, a campaign that advocates GMO labeling, said Cheerios is the first major brand of packaged food in the U.S. to make the switch from containing GMOs to marketing itself as non-GMO. Other companies have also said they plan to change. Whole Foods Market Inc. said it will require by 2018 that all food in its stores containing GMOs, disclose the fact on labels. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. and Kellogg Co.’s Kashi, which markets its cereals and snacks as having “natural ingredients,” have both said they are working on taking GMOs out of their food.

But it is a lengthy and expensive process. Kashi says only 1% of U.S. cropland is organic and around 70% of packaged foods contain GMOs.

This voluntary change by General Mills in the manufacturing of original Cheerios may encourage other large manufacturers to follow suit. While it may be difficult and expensive to source the ingredients and change their processes, a brand as large as Cheerios embracing what companies view as a difficult transition can certainly begin a trend in food manufacturing.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303370904579297211874270146

GMO Inside needs our help getting GMOs properly labeled or completely out of our breakfast cereals

FoodFacts.com is aware of our community’s strong feelings regarding the genetically modified ingredients in our food supply. We know how important to is to you to educate yourself, shop carefully, and stay aware of the latest developments in the GMO controversy. When we saw this information today, we knew our community needed to know the details of how they can lend a hand in the ongoing battle over GMO labeling.

GMO Inside is a group devoted to the rights of food consumers to know if the foods they are purchasing contain genetically modified ingredients. They have announced that they are calling on Kellogg’s and General Mills regarding the GMO ingredients in their breakfast cereals and effectively start over with consumers by labeling or removing those ingredients from their products. It’s called the “Fresh Start” action and you can help to move these breakfast cereal giants in the right direction.

During the month of January at http://gmoinside.org/take-action/ , GMO Inside needs all of us to to sign petitions, phone both of these companies to request non-GMO products, and comment accordingly on the Facebook profiles of each company and their brands. For Kellogg’s, the brands include Corn Flakes, POPS, Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes and Special K. They are also the manufacturer of MorningStar Farms products and Keebler. General Mills boasts Lucky Charms, Cheerios, Chex and Kix as well as the Pillsbury and Betty Crocker brands. There are plenty more, these are just examples for both companies.

In addition to the effort to get the brands to label or remove GMO ingredients, GMO inside is also asking both brands to withhold funding from any opposition to the new Washington State ballot initiative for labeling GMO ingredients. This will come up for a vote during the next election season. It is important to note that both Kellogg’s and General Mills are selling their products in Europe, WITHOUT GMO ingredients.

The GMO Inside “Fresh Start” initiative has already gained over 5,000 signatures on their petition.

FoodFacts.com and GMO Inside share the same philosophies on the controversial topic of GMO ingredients. GMOs have never been proven to be safe for consumers. We find new studies constantly that raise serious issues about health issues that may be linked to genetically modified foods. And in addition, we are aware that the planting of GMO crops has actually increased the use of the pesticides and herbicides, proving harmful for farmers worldwide.

We urge our community to take action and visit the GMO Inside link to support this very important initiative.
Read more: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/fresh-start-for-2013-national-coalition-calls-on-us-cereal-giants-to-take-gmos-out-of-our-breakfasts-2013-01-17

The power of social media … Saying no to GMOs on the Cheerios Facebook page

FoodFacts.com definitely considers this story food for thought. It appears that consumers who are staunchly against GMOs and avidly for GMO labeling on food products have paid more than a bit of attention to the Facebook Cheerios page. They are expressing their extreme disapproval for the non-labeling of GMO ingredients in the popular General Mills’ product.

The General Mills’ Cheerios Facebook page was intended to be a social media outlet for consumers to share their childhood memories of Cheerios. Let’s remember that regardless of ingredients, Cheerios were and still are the first “finger food” that most pediatricians recommend for babies/toddlers. They’re actually included in evaluations for the Pincer Grasp (the incredibly important physical achievement for young toddlers that involves being able to pick up a small object between the thumb and index finger). Do a search in Google images for Pincer Grasp. Most of the images that turn up in the search will, in fact, involve Cheerios. Combine all that with the heart-healthy marketing campaigns and the little cartoon bees for the “Honey Nut” variety and it really isn’t so unusual that Cheerios is an incredibly popular brand here in the U.S.

But the power of social media can show its force on even the most popular of brands. It appears that late in November anti-GMO posters hijacked the Cheerios Facebook page. It seems that GMOInside – a coalition of organizations was somehow behind the efforts to inundate the Cheerios Facebook page with comments from Anti-GMO consumers.

General Mills contributed $1.1 million to the efforts to defeat Proposition 37 in California – the proposed bill to require the labeling of GMO ingredients in California’s food supply. While General Mills’ contribution was less than those of many other companies.

The floodgates opened when General Mills promoted a smartphone app that asked users to tell them what the Cheerios brand meant to them. They printed the comments in the classic Cheerios typeface and put them up on the Facebook page. But GMOInside asked its followers to send messages to General Mills via that same app.

So if you visit the Cheerios Facebook page right now, you’ll see posts from consumers telling General Mills they aren’t buying Cheerios anymore because General Mills isn’t labeling the product appropriately.

The power of social media is a huge and all-encompassing force. FoodFacts.com is hopeful that General Mills will take note of the plethora of messages on the Cheerios Facebook page. Consumers are simply asking for transparency and honesty. The request is not for them to remove ingredients from Cheerios, but to let consumers decide for themselves whether or not to include GMO ingredients in their diets. The only way a Cheerios consumer can do that is for General Mills to label Cheerios accordingly. We like the idea. We hope they do too.

http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/12/general-mills-cheerios-facebook-page-anti-gmo-campaign/
http://gmoinside.org/launch-gmo-inside-campaign-cheerios/