Honey Nut Cheerios shoppers may be surprised when they reach for a box of the sweet, toasty cereal and find something missing. Buzz the Bee, the iconic mascot, is temporarily disappearing from the box. In its place, consumers will find a blank cutout of Buzz's form instead.
At first glance, it appears to be a marketing gimmick to sell more cereal. This however, is no gimmick. The lack of Buzz is an environmental statement made on behalf of General Mills.
Honey Nut Cheerios boxes in Canada are going bee-less to raise awareness on the drastic decline of the honey bee and other pollinator populations around the world.
This is the first time the iconic bee has been removed from boxes since its first appearance in the 1990s.
Along with the missing buzz, boxes encourage consumers to visit their website Bringing Back The Bees to learn more about the threat facing pollinators. By visiting the site, Canadian residents can also receive a free packet of seeds to plant their own wildflowers.
Conservation claims the best way to deal with pollinator loss is to plant wildflowers. So Honey Nut Cheerios is encouraging consumers to plant 100 million wildflowers in an attempts to bring back a healthy habitat for pollinators.
About 30 percent of General Mills products rely on pollination. According to General Mills, "more than two thirds of the crops used to feed people, accounting for 90 percent of the world's nutrition, are pollinated by bees." With global warming on the rise and increasing habitat loss, pollinator populations around the world have been disappearing.
It's estimated that 44 percent of honey bee colonies alone were lost in between 2015-2016. This is a threat not only to the bees, but our entire food chain.
"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," said Susana Prucha, director of marketing for Cheerios.
General Mills has even gone a step further in making the world a better place by investing $4 million to the Xerxes society - the oldest pollinator conservation group. While this marketing campaign may benefit General Mills, by raising awareness and encouraging action, it benefits us all.