We work with partners to make food safe and advance nutrition science.
The General Mills’ Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition (BIHN) is the company’s global source for scientific health, wellness and nutrition expertise that creates value and growth for General Mills. Learn more about the Bell Institute of Health at Nutrition.
At the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition we believe in cross-sector dialogues and multi-disciplinary partnerships to advance nutrition and food safety research in support of public health. We collaborate with scientists, universities, consortiums and organizations across the globe to champion nutrition and food safety and help answer multifaceted problems. We strive to improve consumers' lives through our work, and by discussing our policies and practices openly and transparently.
Elevating Nutrition Science
As the Bell Institute of Health & Nutrition at General Mills, we have published more than 100 peer reviewed publications, and have presented research at over 80 conferences. We have an ongoing commitment to share our work externally and elevate others’ research through sponsored scientific sessions and symposiums. Our research spans many topics, but many have focused on:
- understanding of the benefits of whole grain, fiber, ready to eat cereal & yogurt; and
- understanding nutrient intakes, food group intake and diet quality in populations across the globe and how these relate to dietary guidance and recommendations.
While we have experienced scientists that publish original research within the Bell Institute of Health & Nutrition, we also frequently partner externally with world-renowned academic researchers, institutes and consortiums to garner a variety of expertise, capabilities and perspectives. Maintaining the integrity of scientist research is of utmost importance to us. We follow the guidelines on scientific integrity outlined by the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) North America Working Group.
Supporting Nutrition & Food Safety Organizations
We are proud to support multi-sector and cross disciplinary organizations that promote translational research to support public health goals. Through our memberships, we actively engage with several nutrition and food safety organizations, including, but not limited to:
- Professional Societies: American Society for Nutrition, British Nutrition Foundation, Canadian Nutrition Society, British Toxicology Society, International Association for Food Protection, Institute of Food Technologists.
- Consumer Communication: International Food Information Council Foundation, European Food Information Council, The Whole Grains Council.
- Research Organizations: International Life Sciences Institute (in 7 geographies), Food Allergy Research and Resource Program.
- Councils, Coalitions and Round Tables: Food Forum (National Academy of Sciences), Obesity Round Table (National Academy of Sciences), Portion Balance Coalition (Georgetown University), Tufts Food and Nutrition Innovation Council.
Our scientists may sit on committees within these organizations to advance science-based initiatives. Our memberships and involvement help us 1) maintain our critical voice in cross-sector dialogue; 2) champion translational and applied science in support of our consumers’ needs; and, 3) remain relevant and current within the global nutrition and food safety communities.
At General Mills, food safety is not an area of competitive advantage, and we frequently share our best practices, emerging areas of concern and regulatory activities to help raise standards industry-wide. We’ll often seek external guidance from industry peers, consultants or universities to maintain cutting-edge information to bring the high standard of food safety to our products. Learn more about our commitment to food safety at General Mills.
Engagement in Regulatory Affairs: We actively engage in public policy discussions around the globe to advance nutrition and food safety policies by providing evidence-based comments to regulatory bodies and policymakers. We engage on policies that have a direct impact on General Mills including those related to health claims, nutrition and allergen labeling, microbiological standards, dietary guidance and supplemental nutrition feeding programs. Learn more about our public engagement efforts.
We engage on these issues as General Mills, as part of trade associations, or in partnership with our peer companies, along with others, to advance shared public health objectives. Learn more about our trade and industry groups involvement.
Our goal is to provide a diverse portfolio of products that contribute to the well-being of consumers and meet a variety of needs. We are committed to making food with passion and putting people first by improving the variety and nutrient density of our products.
Annually, we share results on the variety and nutritional characteristics of our product portfolio. This is reported as the % of global volume that meets our internal criteria for “Nutrition-Forward.” We are proud to report that in fiscal 2020, 43% of General Mills global volume met our criteria as “Nutrition-Forward Foods.” Learn more about our global health reporting.
Our marketing policies ensure that our child-directed advertising promotes only lower-calorie, nutrient dense products. We take particular care around the content and nature of advertising directed to children – including pre-screening of our ads by the Better Business Bureau’s Children’s Advertising Review Unit.
We actively engage in public policy discussions to advance these nutrition priorities, including the following actions:
- Supporting strong Dietary Guidelines for Americans (see our letter to USDA on the 2015 DGAs).
- Supporting the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s efforts to reflect the newest scientific information in the definition of “healthy” (see our letter to FDA).
- Supporting strong U.S. school nutrition standards, including requiring the same nutrition requirements for all foods sold in schools.
- Supporting the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and WIC consumer access to a variety of fortified ready-to-eat whole grain breakfast cereals and yogurt. We identify opportunities for our nutritionists and staff to work directly with scientific communities and USDA who are charged with developing recommendations for the “WIC Food Basket” to ensure our input is considered in their recommendations.
Learn more about our Nutrition and Food Safety Partnerships and Collaborations
Health and Wellness Advisory Council
Since 1989, the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition has had a global Health and Wellness Advisory Council. Our council members are leaders at the top of their field in health and nutrition research. The council meets regularly to provide their input on our key nutrition and health strategies and to provide their perspectives on advances in the field of nutrition science. The council challenges us to continually advance our health and wellness strategies and practices and ensure that our goals are aligned with current nutrition and public health science and recommendations.