For every third bite that you take of that sandwich, Buddha bowl or artisanal popcorn, know that you should be thanking a bee. More than two-thirds of the world's crops rely on pollinators, but in the past year, 44 percent of the bee colonies in the U.S. have collapsed.
It is this concerning statistic that led General Mills to join the ranks of other corporations working to raise awareness of this issue through removing the image of BuzzBee, the mascot of Honey Nut Cheerios, from all its cereal boxes.
Each of the boxes is now printed with a white outline of the cartoon bee with a message urging consumers to help bring back the bee population. When the campaign launched, Cheerios also mailed those who signed up online seeds to create their own wildflower garden, one of the actions recommended by conservationists to help support bee colony growth. The initial hope was to give away 100 million seed packets, but sign-ups for the program were closed after 1.5 billion people registered.
"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 Susanne Prucha, director of marketing for Cheerios, in an official statement.
The brand has also committed to working with its oat suppliers to turn 3,300 acres of farmland into wildflower bee habitats by 2020, a move that is expected to double the amount of bees in the area.
To learn more about bees, watch the video below.