Honey Nut Cheerios has removed Buzz from its box in an effort to be proactive in raising awareness about the rapid decline of bee populations throughout the United States and the world.
Recently the brand removed its famous bee mascot, BuzzBee, from its cereal boxes, a reference to the fact that bees are being killed off at a dramatic rate. The Huffington Post reports that over the past decade, populations have been reduced by up to 30 percent per year.
"Buzz is missing [from the cereal box] because there's something serious going on with the world's bees," Cheerios wrote on the #BringBacktheBees page of its website. "Bee populations everywhere have been declining at an alarming rate, and that includes honeybees like Buzz."
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In January, the rusty patched bumble bee was added to the endangered species list. Once present in 28 states, this particular bumble bee species can now only be found in 13. Over the past two decades its population has reportedly declined by a staggering 90 percent.
"Today’s endangered species listing is the best -- and probably last -- hope for the recovery of the rusty patched bumble bee," Rebecca Riley, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, told The Huffington Post. "Bumble bees are dying off, vanishing from our farms, gardens, and parks, where they were once found in great numbers."
The issue is more important than you might think. Humans rely on bees for a significant percentage of their food supply. Fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts and oils all need to be pollinated.
And almost one-third of General Mills products, including Honey Nut Cheerios, depend on pollination. That's why they're committing themselves to addressing the problem.
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In addition to removing BuzzBee from the front of their cereal boxes, Honey Nut Cheerios is giving out free wildflower seeds and encouraging consumers to plant more than 100 million wildflowers in 2017.
"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," Cheerios marketing director Susanne Prucha said in a statement. "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."
By the end of 2020, Honey Nut Cheerios plans to house over 3,000 acres of pollinator habitat across 60,000 acres of land. The hope is that each pollinator habitat will double the number of bees in that area.