Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Best of 2012: Yoplait Trix Yogurt Drops Artificial Colors, Artificial Flavors and High Fructose Corn Syrup

For the next two weeks I’ll be reposting blogs from 2012 that my clients thought informative and helpful in their quest to shop and eat better. Also, I need a break; four years of daily posts takes its toll. I'll attribute yesterday's missed post on my need for a vacation.


While the big food companies seemingly will do anything to protect their bottom lines, know that changes for the better are possible, especially when consumers' voices are loud enough.

The latest example—which absolutely caught me by surprise—is the replacement of petroleum-based artificial colors (FD&C Red #40, FD&C Blue #1, etc.) with natural colors (vegetable juice, fruit juice, beta carotene) and the outright removal of high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors in Yoplait Trix Yogurt.

I've argued previously that Yoplait Trix Yogurt should be displayed in the candy aisle and not the dairy case. While I still feel the same way, the changes in the ingredients do represent a major shift for General Mills, the product's owner in the United States. The innocent kids being fed this stuff will still be getting an exorbitant amount of sugar, but at least they won't be subject to the side effects of the artificial colorants.

(Click here and here to read parents' experiences with the old version of Yoplait Trix Yogurt.)

Why the changes, which began in January 2012?

According to the consumer services spokeswoman I talked with, "feedback from our consumers" led to the changes. "They wanted children's yogurt to be more healthy," she added.

(For this product, I would use the phrase "less unhealthy" instead of "more healthy," but that's my opinion.)

See? If we make our voices heard, change can happen! Pepperidge Farm moved away from artificial colors in its colored goldfish in 2010 for virtually the same reason.

By the way, real yogurt is simply milk with live cultures added; the sugars, thickeners, preservatives and colors added to commercial yogurts detract from the nutritional benefits of the true product.

Want a safer alternative to feed your kids (or yourself)? Buy plain yogurt (organic, if possible) and jazz it up with honey or maple syrup, dried fruit, nuts and cinnamon. Once your palate adjusts to the new flavors, you won't miss the synthetic yogurts for a second. Trust me.

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