Healthy products mean healthy progress for major food company

Eating prepackaged foods doesn’t necessarily mean you are eating unhealthy anymore. One major food company is keeping close tabs on its nutrition profile, marking significant improvement in recent years.

General Mills first began tracking and quantifying health improvements in 2005. Between fiscal 2005 and fiscal 2011, the company has improved the health profile of 64 percent of its US retail sales volume. Improvements have included adding whole grains; fiber and calcium; and reducing calories, sugar, sodium, and trans fats.

Some examples of fiscal 2011 improvements include:

Increased Whole Grain: General Mills launched additional brands with whole grain including a new variety of Cascadian Farm cereal and Good Earth Dinner Kits, each with at least 8 grams of whole grain per serving. 

Increased Calcium and Vitamin D: General Mills increased the calcium and vitamin D in Yoplait Original to 50 percent of the recommended daily value of calcium and 50 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin D in every cup.

Reduced Sugar: Since 2007, General Mills has lowered sugar levels in kid-friendly cereals by more than 14 percent on average, with some reduced as much as 28 percent. It announced in December 2010 that all cereals advertised to children had been reduced to 10 grams of sugar or less per serving, with some already at 9 grams per serving.

Reduced Sodium: They have reduced sodium by 10 percent across their cereal portfolio since 2008. They also made significant strides in lowering sodium in other brands, including several Progresso soups, many Muir Glen tomato products, and Shake ‘n Pour Bisquick.

General Mills’ health profile improvements are tracked and quantified using a proprietary “Health Metric,” created by the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition, to drive and measure the company’s progress on nutrition and health improvements.

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