If you’ve picked up a box of Honey Nut Cheerios recently, you might have noticed something, or someone, missing from the box. Their longtime mascot Buzz has since been replaced with a blank white space in the shape of his silhouette. Although at first glance it might appear as a misprinted package, General Mills, the parent company of Cheerios, is aiming to raise awareness of the endangered pollinators with their #BringBackTheBees campaign.
According to Honey Nut Cheerios, bee populations have been declining at an alarming rate in recent years with 42 percent of bee colonies in the U.S. collapsing in 2015 alone. Although we normally associate bees with honey and the spread of pollen, their impact on agriculture and our food system goes way beyond that. It’s been estimated that one in three bites of food we eat is made possible by bees and other pollinators and that 70 out of the top 100 human food crops are pollinated by bees. Those statistics are more than substantial, they’re deafening, and General Mills wants to help.
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As part of their #BringBackTheBees campaign, Cheerios is pledging to give away 100 million wildflower seeds, in partnership with Veseys Seeds, to get the movement started. They’ve reached 90 percent of their goal and hope to reach the 100 million mark this spring. Additionally, by 2020 Cheerios’ oat farms will host upwards of 3,300 acres of nectar- and pollen-rich wildflowers, which are full of the nutrients bees and other pollinators need to stay strong.
Although Honey Nut Cheerios’ #BringBackTheBees campaign is undoubtedly aiming to save bee populations around the country, these actions could also assist in promoting Honey Nut Cheerios as well. As cereal sales continue to decline, General Mills will continue looking for creative ways to forge bonds with young consumers and luckily for us, this campaign's benefits go way beyond our kitchens at home.