General Mills has reached a Cereal Standoff with its customers.
To make a move away from artificial ingredients, would abandon old-fashioned cereal lovers. To make no move at all, would mean more consumer complaints of "colors with numbers in their food."
Two years ago, General Mills pulled the trigger on its old-fashioned cereal, moving toward all-natural ingredients, a mistake they realized just last year, when Trix was re-introduced featuring dyes made of radishes, purple carrots, and turmeric, reducing its once technicolor fare into a dull "earth-toned bleh," according to Grub Street. The new Trix was free of artificial flavors, high-fructose corn syrup and dyes like Red 40, Blue 1 and Yellow 6.
The color comparison below shows original Trix on the right and all-natural Trix on the left. If you're like me, the difference is noticeable but insignificant. But to others, this difference is depressing.
There is a careful system of checks and balances when it comes to pleasing the consumer. When you cater too much to the pleas against artificial ingredients, you tip the scale far too much and suddenly Trix becomes "basically a salad now," said 35-year-old Justin Storer to The Wall Street Journal.
Some people proclaimed that their childhoods were robbed; others were outright disgusted. Many posted nostalgia-fueled tweets: "I genuinely feel bad for the kids that never got to experience the old Trix cereal." Turns out, when you mess with someone's childhood cereal, you also toy with their livelihood.
What do you do if you're General Mills? You go back to the start, which if you think about it, is really just taking a step forward.
The not-new "new" Classic Trix 2.0 will hit shelves again in October, next to all-natural Trix, which brings the original stand-off between artificial and natural ingredients into the picture, displayed very literally, on grocery shelves.
Original Trix will once again don the eclectic hues of breakfast past. "Solo-cup red, Uranus blue, Shrek green, Peeps yellow, and traffic-cone orange" will grace the cereal bowls of many nostalgic breakfast-eaters, according to Grub Street.
And really, that's all consumers wanted -- an artificially flavored, sugar-pumped breakfast cereal to get them through the day.
And a big spoonful of nostalgia.