General Mills plans to cut the sugar in its Yoplait Original yogurt by more than 25 percent, a reformulation that comes at a time of much debate over added sugars on the grocery shelves.
With less sugar, the calorie count in Yoplait Original will fall from 170 to 150 calories per 6-ounce serving. The reformulated Yoplait should be in stores next month.
Golden Valley-based General Mills announced the Yoplait sugar cuts Tuesday at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York’s annual conference in Boca Raton, Fla.
Yoplait is one of General Mills’ most important U.S. businesses with over $1 billion in sales, while the Yoplait Original line is a cornerstone.
Overall U.S. yogurt sales are growing at a decent clip, as yogurt is seen as a “good-for-you” food product — high in protein and calcium and relatively low in calories.
Still, conventional flavored yogurt has a relatively high amount of sugar.
Yogurt is made from milk, which contains lactose, a natural sugar. Plain yogurt, thus, has about 12 grams of sugar per serving. But once yogurt makers like General Mills and Dannon mix in fruit and added sugars, the sugar count doubles.
Yoplait Original yogurt currently contains 26 grams of sugar, on average, per serving, while Dannon’s equivalent offering has 24 grams. The new Yoplait Original will have 18 grams of sugar per serving, General Mills says.
Also, the per-serving amount of protein in Yoplait Original will rise from 5 grams to 6 grams, since General Mills will be using more milk in the reformulated version. Fat per serving will rise from 1.5 to 2 grams, also because it will have more milk.
Added sugars have been a topic of much debate in recent years, with some nutritionists criticizing packaged food makers for relying too much on the sweet stuff.
U.S. food regulators have urged Americans to cut back on added sugars and are proposing that more detailed information about sugar be required on product labels, a move the food industry has mostly opposed.
Food makers have responded in recent years by reducing sugar in some items. General Mills has cut sugar in kids’ yogurts by almost 25 percent since 2007.
The company has also been an industry leader in reducing sugar levels in children’s cereals.