Exploration

Can Lucky Charms Be Made Into a Healthy Cereal?

It's proving a challenge to make the brightly colored marshmallows in Lucky Charms with all natural ingredients.

<p>Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/people/61336973@N05">Sarah Mahala Photography & Makeup Artistry</a> <span></span></p>

Many food companies in the U.S. are beginning to remove artificial colors and ingredients from their products in order to keep up with the increasing demand for healthy, more natural foods.

General Mills has recently hopped on the bandwagon, ridding many of its popular cereals, like Trix, Golden Grahams and Reese's Puffs, of artificial coloring, reports Quartz. But removing the artificial coloring from one of their cereals in particular is proving to be quite difficult.

Reformulating Lucky Charms, the popular leprechaun-themed cereal, without artificial ingredients is challenging because the best parts of the cereal, the marshmallows, just don't seem to taste the same without them. There are currently six or seven people working on this marshmallow conundrum at General Mills every single day.

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It's their job to experiment with adding different fruit juices, vegetable juices and spices to marshmallow cream, then screening the color, and testing how it reacts to milk. The process for each marshmallow shape is totally different because they all vary in color. There are blue moons, pink hearts, yellow hour-glasses and even multi-colored rainbows.

Then comes the definitive trial: the taste test. Achieving the right brightness of color in the marshmallows while preserving the more subtle taste is the biggest challenge. Right now, the plan is to release the all natural version of Lucky Charms to the market by the end of 2017, but cereal recipe developers at General Mills are prepared to take longer if necessary to get everything perfect.