General Mill's Total brand cereal is advertised as a ready-to-eat cereal that provides 100 per cent of the required daily amount of 11 essential vitamins and minerals in a single serving. Available in a wide variety of flavours, including blueberry pomegranate, raisin, honey almond, cinnamon and cranberry, the flagship box of cereal is the plain whole-grain flakes. Made from a series of simple ingredients, Total cereal's vitamin and mineral load is delivered in a 100-calorie single serving.
Listed as the first, and therefore most abundant, ingredient in Total cereal is whole-grain wheat. Forming the base for the textured flakes that make up the bulk of the cereal, whole-grain wheat is a good source of fibre and many of the vitamins found in the cereal. A "whole-grain" label indicates that the wheat undergoes a milling process whereby the bran and germ --- the shell and seed food --- are left in the flour. As a result, the antioxidants and B vitamins normally removed during the flour-making process are left in the product and contribute to Total's vitamin load.
Sweeteners and Seasonings
To sweeten the cereal, common refined sugar is used as well as processed corn syrup. This offsets the blandness that can accompany whole-grain products and adds around 5g of sugar to the nutritional load of Total's single serving. Salt is used to season the cereal, with a serving containing about 8 per cent (190 mg) of sodium. Annatto extract, a seasoning that adds red colouration and slight sweetness, is also used to season the flakes. Described by the Epicentre's Encyclopedia of Spices as slightly sweet and peppery, annatto's flavour and dying properties allow Total to be coloured without using food-colouring chemicals and dyes.
Minerals and Vitamins
The calling card of the Total brand, added vitamins and minerals make up the bulk of the product's ingredient list. The ingredient information panel lists Calcium carbonate, vitamin C, zinc, iron, vitamin E, B vitamins niacinamide and calcium pantothenate, vitamin B6, B2, B12, vitamin A and vitamin D3. Nutritionally, vitamin A is listed at 10 per cent of the daily required value while vitamin C, iron and calcium are at 100 per cent. Vitamin A holds antioxidant properties and helps maintain healthy vision and bone growth, vitamin C boosts immunity and the B vitamins help blood function and your body's energy processes.
Preservatives and Stabalizers
To keep the product fresh throughout transportation and storage, preservatives are added. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) is a chemical added to food products that prevent bacteria, mould, yeasts and fungi from destroying or altering the food over short periods of time and is used in small quantities in Total. Monoglycerides are part of the ingredient list for the cereal and are used as a stabiliser and emulsifier (chemicals that bond foods together and keep them there). Made of distilled fatty acids, monoglycerides keep foods from separating or breaking down.