In a move rarely ever done, General Mills actually reduced the quantity and number of vitamins (and therefore the nutritional value) of one of its cereals — MultiGrain Cheerios.
The nutrition label on the left shows that one serving provides 100% of the daily requirement of nine vitamins and minerals. The one on the right shows that these were reduced to only 25% of the daily requirement in most cases, and two were actually eliminated completely from the product.
We asked the company why they reduced the vitamin content.
“The change in vitamin levels brought MultiGrain Cheerios in line with the Cheerios family of cereals. MultiGrain Cheerios now delivers an excellent source of 8 vitamins and minerals for our all-family consumer base.” — General Mills spokesman.
As consumers, we are used to having to check the price of a product to see if it has changed. Readers of Mouse Print* have learned that you also have to check the net weight of a product to see if it has been downsized. And, who would have believed it, but now we have to check the nutrition label to see if we are getting fewer vitamins.
We are nicknaming this phenomenon of a product being reforumulated and watered down as “product dilution.” Another example of product dilution was when many flavors of Breyers ice cream had the amount of milkfat reduced to below 10% requiring it to be renamed “frozen dairy dessert.”
If you spot a product that has been diluted, please email details to edgar (at symbol) mouseprint.org .
Thanks to Nancy W. for discovering the Cheerios product dilution, which the company says actually occurred in 2011.