Artificially Flavored Trix Returns Following Consumer Complaints

October 6, 2017

frankieleonTwo years ago General Mills made an admirable announcement when the company pledged to remove all artificial flavors and colors from its cereal brands. The Minnesota-based business noticed that sales of sugary, processed foods had been falling for some time as more consumers turned towards organic and natural options. General Mills figured it could win over these healthy eaters by switching to simpler ingredients. The plan seemed to work at first as the reformulated recipes increased cereal sales by 6 percent in early 2016.

But then the complaints started stacking up. While each retooled brand received its share of unhappy comments, no cereal angered longtime fans as much as the new version of Trix. General Mills’ food scientists couldn’t recapture the original color using natural ingredients, causing the updated Trix to look drab and unappetizing. Many thought the cereal’s new flavor was missing some brightness as well. “It’s basically a salad now,” said a Chicago lawyer about the artificial flavor-free Trix. Hundreds of others also chimed in with their disapproval and begged for the company to bring back the classic recipe.

So that’s exactly what General Mills did. After getting swamped with complaints, the company announced that the high-fructose corn syrup version of Trix would be making a comeback this month. The cereal will be stocked alongside its all-natural counterpart, allowing consumers to choose between the new and the old. The situation taught General Mills that perhaps the sun has not set entirely on artificially flavored snacks. After all, more than 63,000 food brands use synthetic flavors while an additional 46,000 other products use artificial colors. Still, General Mills is sticking to the all-natural plan in regards to its other cereals, mainly because not nearly as many people have complained about those brands as they did about Trix.

Questions:

  1. Was General Mills right to cave into consumer pressure and bring back the original Trix?
  2. Do you think artificially flavored foods could someday be replaced entirely with organic options?

Source: Annie Gasparro, “Silly Rabbit! Original Trix With Artificial Colors Is Back After Customers Revolt,” The Wall Street Journal, September 21, 2017. Photo by frankieleon.

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