General Mills Inc, maker of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Original Cheerios cereals, said it would stop using artificial flavors and colors in almost all of its cereals, joining the U.S. food industry's move towards products perceived as healthier.
The packaged foods maker said on Monday it plans to have 90 percent of its cereals free of artificial flavors and colors by 2016, up from about 60 percent currently.
The company's Trix and Reese's Puffs cereals will be among the first to use ingredients such as fruit and vegetable juices, peanut butter, cocoa and natural vanilla flavors, and will be available from this winter, General Mills said.
U.S. restaurant chains and food companies have been facing pressure to remove synthetic ingredients from their products amid growing concerns that such ingredients could cause health problems.
Kraft Foods Group Inc said in April it would remove synthetic colors and preservatives from its popular macaroni and cheese meals.
Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, two of Yum Brands Inc's largest restaurant chains, sandwich chain Subway and Nestle USA have also made similar moves.
General Mills's shares were up 1.2 percent at $56.83 in late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.