Artificial Is So Fake, You Guys: Increase In Sales Of Breakfast Cereals Attributed In Part To Preference For More Natural Ingredients
Oh, the carefree days of childhood. Who can forget Saturday mornings in the rec room, curled up in front of the massively radiation-spewing cathode-ray television, staring glassy-eyed at the colorful cartoon images dancing across the screen.
And the only thing more colorful in the room–or in any room, or in nature for that matter–were the bowls of cereal we would wolf down one after another. Many a sugar-buzzed, spasmodic morning would drift into a vaguely coma-like, sugar-crashed early afternoon in that rec room and millions of others like it across the US.
But these days are different, and we know better about so many things. As would seem to be the case when it comes to breakfast cereals today, as manufacturers try out formulas that contain fewer or no artificial ingredients and flavorings. General Mills for one has announced a 6 percent increase in sales as of January, gaining back an equal decline the previous year, which they take as a sign of consumer pleasure at the phasing out of fake ingredients and adapting themselves to more health-oriented modern sensibilities. They recently reformulated 75 percent of its cereals to contain no artificial colors or flavors, and hopes to hit 90 percent by the end of 2016.
The company, along with rival breakfast food giant Kellog’s–which is also in the process of phasing out artificial colors and flavors–will soon include GMO labeling on all its foods as well. Such concessions to demand for the products that more health-oriented consumers desire–you know, the way capitalism is supposed to work–is a major shift away from the tooth and nail battle companies like General Mills and others went through earlier this year trying to pass a pre-emptive anti-GMO labeling legislation through the US Congress to head off Vermont’s restrictive labeling law.
Analysis shows in fact that this year’s gains in sales are in opposition to much of the trend line that has played out over the past decade or so. From 2000 on, cereal sales across the industry have dropped from $13.9 billion to about $10 billion today.
But looking ahead, Kellog’s CEO John Bryant for one sees a rosy future: he predicts a 1 to 2 percent increase in sales for Kellog’s cereal line this year alone.
Now if we could only get someone to air some decent cartoons on Saturday mornings again we could revisit those blissful days of childhood guilt-free.