GMO Switch Fails to Boost Cheerios' Sales

General Mills Brand Products On the Shelf Ahead of Earnings Figures
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By CANDICE CHOI

NEW YORK -- Plain old Cheerios are no longer made with genetically modified ingredients, but the switch hasn't yet translated to a boost in sales.

General Mills (GIS), the company that makes the cereal, in January announced it would start making its plain Cheerios without GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. The move came after a campaign by the group Green America, which prompted fans to express their support on the Cheerios' Facebook (FB) page.

On Wednesday, CEO Ken Powell said in a phone interview that the company has gotten supportive letters and online comments for its decision. But he said the company was "not really seeing anything there that we can detect" in terms of a sales lift.

"It's what I expected," Powell said. He added that genetically modified organisms aren't really a concern for most customers.

Americans have been moving away from cereal more broadly,
as alternatives such as Greek yogurt or breakfast sandwiches have gained popularity.

That has left General Mills and rival Kellogg (K) struggling to boost sales. Cheerios is no exception; Powell conceded that sales have been "down somewhat" for the brand.

As for GMOs, there has been little scientific evidence showing that foods grown from engineered ingredients are less safe than their conventional counterparts. But their use has become a growing issue, with some saying they could have longer-term health impacts and that people have the right to know if genetically modified ingredients are used in foods.

Cheerios boxes are now labeled as being "Not Made With Genetically Modified Ingredients," which is not an official certification.

The change doesn't apply to other boxes of Cheerios, such as Honey Nut Cheerios or Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, which still use genetically modified ingredients.

It's not the first time General Mills has adjusted its products to food trends. Executives have noted that the company was able to turnaround declining sales of Chex by rolling out varieties labeled as "gluten-free." And on Wednesday, they noted in an earnings call that they planned to renovate cereal brands by bringing such "health news" to them.


General Mills Announces No More GMOs In Original Cheerios

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11 Comments

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sstuczynsk

GMO's? Big deal. No harm, no foul! Still taste greaat!

March 21 2014 at 3:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
deejam58

I didn't like the comment that was made...if you don't like it, thats just "tough." Someone trying to shove something down our throats besides Cheerios..well, i guess scarcasem won't work for me either to purchase Cheerios...

March 20 2014 at 6:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
stinkyheadzzz

crap article I read the news & NEVER heard of this before warning corpirate "news" like this to deflect attention from real moves made by 1%

March 20 2014 at 4:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
motherduck46

i just came home from the supermarket wanted to buy the multi grain cheerios with dark chocolate took one look at the price of a small box and put it right back on the shelf $4.19 for a small box and they wonder why sales hae droped!!!!

March 20 2014 at 3:16 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
Sekinu2

They pretty much ruined the cereals by trying to make them too healthy. bring back the originals with real suagr and all the bad stuff that made cereal taste so good. Im tired of the few getting served over the majority. Stop trying to cater and just put the good cereal back on the shelves.

March 20 2014 at 12:48 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
stocks0601

Is the box marked no GMO? I've been looking and won't buy until I find a box marked NO GMO!

March 19 2014 at 5:40 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to stocks0601's comment
stinkyheadzzz

nice me too

March 20 2014 at 4:12 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
gamulno

Here we go again with the pro GMO propaganda:
"As for GMOs, there has been little scientific evidence showing that foods grown from engineered ingredients are less safe than their conventional counterparts. "

No! No! No! No! No! They have it backwards and have convinced Americans that backwards is good. It is Monsanto's, and other companies like them, to PROVE that GMOs are actually SAFE to eat. They tout study after study that safes it is safe - but 100% of them were conducted by Monsanto or someone employed by Monsanto. And then they tout the fact that the FDA says they are safe. Well guess what? The head of the FDA is none other than Michael Taylor. Who is he you may ask? A former top executive, lawyer and lobbyist with biotech giant Monsanto Co.

Yup. All good folks. Just eat your daily ration of GMOs, which were modified to include toxins, pesticides or the genes of various living beings - all so farmers can dump tons of toxic chemicals on your food without killing the plants. Lord knows what its doing to your insides but hey - why let that get in the way of some good profits?

OK - now bring out the Monsanto cronies that follow around slamming people for exposing the truth.

March 19 2014 at 1:50 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
RichFlower

Perhaps they should think about lowering their prices if they want to get people to keep buying the cereal. After successive price hikes and huge box shrinkages I quit buying.

March 19 2014 at 1:36 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to RichFlower's comment
progressivehoax

That's an excellenmt way to lose weight.

March 20 2014 at 8:35 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to progressivehoax's comment
Sekinu2

If your buying cereal your not looking to be on a diet or loose weight you want quick sugary goodness to start the day. make it taste like it didn when it was pre health job good.

March 20 2014 at 12:49 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down