Original Cheerios breakfast cereal in the U.S. will no longer contain genetically modified ingredients, in a change by General Mills’ that not only adds a hefty new competitor to one of the country’s bestselling brands, but the cereal market is shrinking. In the year ended Nov. 3, dollar sales of cereal had dropped 2.5 percent from the previous year, and sales of Cheerios sagged about 7 percent, according to data from market research firm IRI.
There’s no assurance that removing genetically modified ingredients will reverse this slump. While General Mills has been able to increase sales of Chex by marketing the cereal as gluten-free, the Cheerios change will serve as a test of another way to boost the cereal business. The label will now read, “not made with genetically modified ingredients.” The good news for consumers trying to avoid GMOs without breaking the bank on organics is that the retail price won’t go up. The bad news for Honey Nut fans is the change applies only to original Cheerios.