Trix is for kids—and kids want artificial colors

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In Minnesota, cereal maker General Mills is bringing back the “classic” version of the kid’s cereal Trix  after a less-vibrant version made with natural colorings fell flat with consumers.

The company switched to natural colors based on vegetable, fruit, and turmeric extracts less than two years ago, and while sales didn’t necessarily fall, there were numerous customer complaints.

“We made this decision because our fans were split,” Mike Siemienas, a General Mills spokesman tells The Washington Post. “Some really liked it, and some really wanted the old Trix back.” He adds that the company tested 69 natural coloring replacements, but admits it had to ditch blue- and green-colored sugar spheres and was only able to manage a duller version of the red puffs. The company will not pull the new Trix, but rather begin offering “Trix Classic.”

David Portalatin, a food-industry analyst at the research firm NPD, confirmed that the trend away from artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives in consumer foods has not been universal. “The days of the one-size-fits-all blockbuster brand are probably over,” Portalatin said. He attributes this to the fact that consumers look to more than just the absence of artificial ingredients when determining the healthfulness of their food. Some brands—Trix included—may fall into a category where nostalgia is also a consideration, he adds.