MINNEAPOLIS — The percentage of U.S. retail sales volume at General Mills that meets the company’s Health Metric nutritional criteria inched up in fiscal 2018, the Minneapolis-based company noted in its new global responsibility report.
According to General Mills, 81% of its U.S. Retail sales volume now meets the nutritional criteria, up from 80% in fiscal 2017 and 79% in fiscal 2016. Ten years ago, in fiscal 2008, only 40% of the company’s products met the nutritional criteria, General Mills said.
The Health Metric is a tool used by General Mills to measure and report the company’s progress on nutrition and health improvements. Specifically, the tool’s criteria include: reducing calories, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar or sodium by 5% or more per serving; increasing beneficial nutrients — including vitamins, minerals and fiber — by 10% or more per serving; formulating/reformulating products to include eight grams of whole grain or at least a half-serving of fruit, vegetables, or low or nonfat dairy; and formulating/reformulating products to meet specific internal requirements, including limiting calories and meeting health or nutrition claim criteria as defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Some of the products introduced in fiscal 2018 that meet the Health Metric criteria include Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios, Annie’s Spirals with Butter and Parmesan, and Nature Valley Protein Bars.
General Mills said 19% of its North American product stock-keeping units contain at least 10% of the recommended daily value of fiber per serving, while 11% of its s.k.u.s provide at least 10% of the daily value of protein per serving. Approximately 62% of the company’s North American product s.k.u.s have 150 calories or less per serving, and 30% have 100 calories or less per serving. Meanwhile, 24% of the company’s U.S. retail product s.k.u.s provide at least 10% of the recommended daily value of calcium per serving.
On the organic front, General Mills said it has grown to become the second-largest U.S. natural and organic food producer with sales of $1.058 billion in fiscal 2018, achieving its previously stated goal of $1 billion in sales by 2019. According to the report, 1 out of every 12 products in General Mills’ North American portfolio is certified organic or made with organic ingredients. Approximately 370 organic product s.k.u.s are available throughout General Mills’ U.S. and Canada portfolio.
“General Mills is dedicated to increasing the long-term capacity of our organic supply chain and expanding organic acreage,” the company noted in the report. “These efforts align with our growth objectives, consumer demand and our commitment to regenerative agriculture. Our goal is to more than double our organic acreage from 120,000 acres to 250,000 acres between 2015 and 2019. Through fiscal 2018, we reached 200,000 acres.
“Since 2000, General Mills has steadily grown our organic business with new products, such as Progresso Organic Soup, and brand acquisitions, including Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen and Annie’s.”
General Mills’ subsidiary, Cascadian Farm, has partnered with Grain Millers, the largest organic oat supplier in the United States, to promote continuous improvement within organic farming.
“We committed $125,000 through 2022 to conduct soil testing, host field days, share best practices and help remove hurdles to advancing the organic movement,” the company said. “In 2018, Annie’s partnered with innovative Montana farmers Casey Bailey and Nate Powell-Palm to create limited editions of two of our top items, Elbow Pasta & Cheddar and Honey Bunny Grahams, with organic ingredients grown using regenerative practices. We sourced the oats, peas and wheat for these products directly from the farmers, deepening our understanding of the farming practices behind the ingredients.”