Shoppers may notice something unusual about the boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios on grocery store shelves this spring — “BuzzBee,” the brand’s iconic spokesbee, is missing and there’s a very important reason why. Buzz disappeared from boxes because there’s something serious going on with the world’s pollinators.
Pollinators are critical to our environment. More than two thirds of the crops used to feed people, accounting for 90 percent of the world’s nutrition, are pollinated by bees1. With deteriorating colony health, pollinators everywhere have been disappearing by the millions1.
Pollinators need wildflower pollen and nectar to stay happy and healthy. Planting wildflowers is recommended by conservationists as one of the best ways to support pollinators, and is a fun, simple way to help. Honey Nut Cheerios wants to create a more bee-friendly world by encouraging consumers to plant over 100 million wildflowers this year. To join #BringBackTheBees, families were invited to order and plant free wildflower seeds from Vesey’s Seeds by visiting www.cheerios.com/bringbackthebees.
“Wow! They have exceeded Their goal of giving away 100 million seeds—10 times over! But after giving away a 1.5 billion seeds, they are all out. Thanks for your support. #BringBackTheBees.”
Bees have experienced an unprecedented scale of habitat loss, with more than 9 million acres of grass and prairie land converted to crop land since 2008.2 Although, BuzzBee and his honey bee friends may not be in danger of extinction like some other pollinators, in the interest of protecting our food supply, General Mills is committed to helping all pollinators thrive through the planting of these habitats.
“As a General Mills cereal built around nutrition, helping pollinators get the key nutrition they need through fun, family-friendly activities like planting wildflowers is a natural fit,” said Susanne Prucha, director of marketing for Cheerios. “Our commitment to increasing the habitat for pollinators is one way we are continuously striving to be a company that not only makes products people love, but a company that pursues creative solutions to make our world a better place for all families.”
Approximately 30 percent of all ingredients in General Mills’ products rely on pollination. Since 2011, General Mills has invested more than $4 million with the Xerces Society –the world’s oldest and largest pollinator conservation group – to support pollinator and biodiversity efforts. Large-scale habitat projects have already been planted or are underway with farms supplying ingredients to Cheerios, Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm, LÄRABAR and Annie’s.
Last spring, Honey Nut Cheerios announced that by the end of 2020, farms that grow oats for Cheerios will house approximately 3,300 total acres of dedicated pollinator habitat on 60,000 acres of land. Previous pollinator habitat plantings on General Mills’ supplier farms indicate that each pollinator habitat is expected to double the amount of bees in the area.
Throughout the spring, Honey Nut Cheerios will continue its efforts to help conserve pollinator populations in the U.S. Visit www.cheerios.com/bringbackthebees for more information on how to help #BringBackTheBees.
About General Mills
General Mills is a leading global food company that serves the world by making food people love. Its brands include Cheerios, Annie’s, Yoplait, Nature Valley, Fiber One, Haagen-Dazs, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills generated fiscal 2016 consolidated net sales of US $16.6 billion, as well as another US $1.0 billion from its proportionate share of joint-venture net sales.