General Mills is one the largest food companies in the United states. Owner of such products as Cheerios, the Betty Crocker range, Pop-Secret and Yoplait. For over a hundred years it has been the staple of the American diet. As its long and rich history proves it is a shinning example of the New World industry at its peak.

History

From the top (19th Century)

The roots of General Mills go back to nearly a century and half ago and can be pin pointed to one man; Cadwallader C. Washburn.
When Cadwallader C. Washburn built his first mill he already had a firm political background behind him and was serving in the US House of Representatives trying to stop the legalisation of slavery. During he life he was involved in a number of business from lumber to railroads, he was the model of a successful businessman.
In 1865 Washburn formed the Minneapolis Milling Company to lease power rights for mill operators. Ten years later he built his first mill on the backs of the Mississippi River, near by St. Anthony falls. There was lot scepticism regarding the mill and many were quick to claim that the supply/demand ratio would never work. The mill was a success, and in 1874 he built a larger facility called the “A” mill, but this mill was doomed, it worked for years before being destroyed in a flour dust explosion that took out five mills nearby, destroying over half of the state’s milling industry in one swift blow.

As any self-respecting businessman would do Washburn did not give up so easily, as soon as the mess was cleared and the legal debris of the incident swept up he started to build a new mill, with improved safety and new machinery. He replaced the traditional grinding stones with steel rollers, this move also meant he was the owner of the first automatic roller mill in the world. With this new installation Washburn's mill even though using spring wheat turned out flour that was as white if not whiter than the rival winter wheat. All of these factor combined meant that Washburn had almost single handily put Minneapolis at the head of the nations milling industry.
In 1879 Washburn recruited his brother William D. Washburn and John Crosby the brother of William’s wife and so Washburn, Crosby & Company was born, the next step towards the company we now know. Just one year later now with their mill at peak production the company entered the International Miller’s Exhibition and wiped out the competition taking home gold, silver and bronze medals. They also won the award for best flour in the world and renamed their finest product Gold Medal Flour, which according to my sources has become the number one flour brand in America 'till this day. That same year Washburn happened on a cookbook written by a young lady called Miss Parola and promptly reprinted it with his company logo on the front, for the first time you could acquire a cookbook with your consumables. The recipes included then are much the same as the ones now and many original favourites live on with dishes such as Steamed Brown Bread, Plum Pudding and Gingerbread and Sally Lunn.

The New Twentieth century (First Half)

Roll around the new millennium and General Mills first advertising campaign with the simple slogan “Eventually. Why Not Now?”. There is a short anecdote that accompanies this slogan and I feel obliged to include it.
The credit for the slogan is attributed to B.S. Bull, the company’s advertising manager who when editing a long winding text about Gold Medal Flour found that he had done such a thorough job that the only word remaining of the text was “eventually”, he then added “Why not now?” But discarded the idea and threw it away. Luck had it that a young member of the firm found the scrap of paper (goodness knows why he was rooting in the trash) and presented it. This enterprising young man went by the name James Ford Bell who would go on to become the first president of General Mills Inc in 1928.
As for the slogan? It was across the nations adorning all of the company transport, lining the highways of America until the 1950’s. So popular was this phrase that it was copied by a number of rivals, a political party and even used as a headline.

1921, brought about a chain of events that would turn out to be the biggest phenomenon of the company so far. General Mills had been running an advertisement that included a small jigsaw puzzle for whoever managed to complete would receive a gold flour bag. Over 30,000 people sent in the jigsaw puzzle, along with tons of letters requesting more recipes and cooking advice. At this time General Mills had only male employees to answer the questions but they wanted a woman’s signature to accompany the letter, after a contest amongst the female workers they selected the best one and signed it Betty Crocker. Betty Crocker has spawned innumerable products, television shows and bi-products. The signature has remained almost untouched since 1921.

Throughout the 1930’s and the 1940’s General Mills carried on expanding it’s market with the development of a new puff gun which lead to the development of Cheerioats (1941) which 5 years later were renamed to Cheerios. Cheerios and the Cheerios brand still remains one of the biggest cereal brand in America, according to General Mills, 1 out of every 11 boxes of cereal sold in the US is a Cheerios product. During this time the company aired and a number of radio shows nation-wide including the memorable “Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy”.
During World War II, General Mills ceased the majority of its development and focused on making torpedo indicators for the US Navy.

Twentieth Century (Second Half)

After the war the company resumed normal operations and once again began developing new products and introduced such cereals as Jets, Trix and later Buds, the worlds first instant mashed potatoes. Meanwhile using television as the new platform for their products they enrolled the help of such personalities as Gracie Allen and Scooby Doo. Betty Crocker was also given her own television programme in ‘50’s The 60’s brought more than the Beatles to America, General Mills started to focus on its acquisition strategy looking into toys, jewellery, furniture, retailing and even restaurants. At one point the food empire include Kenner, Parker Brothers, Monet, Eddie Bauer, Izod, The Talbots and Foot-Joy. They also introduced their first two snacks; Bugles and Fruit Roll-Ups.
The ‘70’s brought the birth of Yoplait, now a massive multinational company it has become one of the largest parts of General Mills, in 1977 it shipped it’s first and most famous product, yoghurt. Columbo Yoghurt a spin off was later incorporated in 1993 Throughout the 1980 the acquisitions form the sixties like the Beatles diversified, and it focused on it’s two new creations Cereal Partners (born 1989) and Snack Ventures (1992), both strategies to strengthen it’s position in the international market.

Market Position

Domestic Operations
Big G Cereals

General Mills’ biggest business features some of the best-known brands in America, including Wheaties and Cheerios, the most powerful brand franchise in the cereal category. Other popular Big G cereals include Chex, Kix, Total, Lucky Charms, Trix and more.

Betty Crocker Desserts, Gold Medal Flour and Baking Mixes

A leader in the baking products business for more than 100 years, General Mills markets Gold Medal and other flour brands, Bisquick baking mixes, Betty Crocker pouch mixes, and an extensive line-up of Betty Crocker cake and dessert mixes.

Snack Products

In the multibillion dollar snack market, products such as Chex Snack Mix, Fruit Roll-Ups, Pop Secret microwave popcorn, Nature Valley granola bars and Bugles corn snacks, make General Mills’ a market leader.

Betty Crocker Dinner and Side Dish Products

The Betty Crocker division of General Mills also includes the Hamburger Helper, Chicken Helper and Tuna Helper dinner mix lines and speciality products, such as Suddenly Salad, speciality potato, rice and pasta side dishes, Betty Crocker cookbooks, catalogues, and licensed Betty Crocker houseware products.

Yoplait and Colombo Yoghurts

Yoplait is the number one selling yoghurt in much of the Sates, and Colombo is expanding rapidly. Trix and Yumsters are favourites, and new Go-gurt, the spoonless, squeezes straight from the tube.

Foodservice

General Mills’ Gold Medal baking mixes are sold to the foodservice sector, and they market Big G cereals such as Cheerios, Total and Lucky Charms to schools and businesses across the country. The Foodservice division also markets our snack products, Betty Crocker casseroles, cup yoghurt and frozen soft-serve yoghurt refreshments under the Colombo brand.

Lloyd’s Barbeque

Lloyd’s Barbeque is a produce refrigerated convenience foods, with the national brand of ready-to-heat barbecued meats. General Mills purchased Lloyd’s in January 1999, and continues to operate the business as a stand-alone subsidiary.

Small Planet Foods

Small Planet Foods brands, Muir Glen and Cascadian Farm, is one if the biggest organic food brands in the country. Muir Glen is the leading brand of organic tomato products and Cascadian Farm offers products ranging from juice to ice cream.

International Operations

International markets have represented a significant portion of General Mills’ sales since 1928. Their first international business, General Mills Canada, dates to 1954. Aggressive growth in international markets began in the 1990s, with the creation of the Cereal Partners Worldwide and Snack Ventures Europe strategic alliances.

Cereal Partners Worldwide: General Mills and Nestle

General Mills joined with Nestle in 1989 to create Cereal Partners Worldwide, which has quickly become the second-largest cereal company outside North America. CPW operates in more than 70 international markets and features more than 40 cereal brands, including Nestle brands such as Chocapic and Nesquik.

Snack Ventures Europe: General Mills and Pepsi

General Mills merged its European snack food operations with three PepsiCo snack companies in 1992, to create Snack Ventures Europe, the largest snack foods company in Continental Europe. The joint venture markets a variety of potato chips, under brand names including Smiths and Lays; corn-based snacks such as Fritos and Doritos; and extruded snacks, including Bugles.

General Mills Canada

General Mills’ original non-U.S., has strong market positions in desserts, dinner mixes and fruit snacks, marketing many popular Big G brands, but also several cereals specifically for the Canadian market, such as Maple Nut Oatmeal Crisp.

Export Operations

General Mills’ export business has grown to include cereals, dessert mixes and a variety of snack foods. Today, General Mills exports more than 650 different items in nearly a dozen languages to more than 100 different markets around the globe, ranging from Saudi Arabia, where Betty Crocker is a household face, to Iceland, where Big G is on every cereal shelf. Export operations are managed out of the General Mills world headquarters in Minneapolis.

Products

Cereal
Hamburger Helper (vast range of flavours and combinations available in any good US supermarket)
Betty Crocker Range (vast range of flavours and combinations available in any good US supermarket)
Bisquick (vast range of flavours and combinations available in any good US supermarket)
  • Bisquick (Original, Reduced Fat)
  • Bisquick Shake 'n Pour (Blueberry Pancake, Buttermilk Pancake, Original Pancake)
  • Gold Medal Flour (All-Purpose, Better For Biscuits (self rising), Better For Bread Unbleached, Better for Wheat Bread Blend, Organic All Purpose Flour, Unbleached, Whole Wheat, Wondra)
  • LaPina Flour (All Purpose)
  • Pancakes (Complete Buttermilk Pancake Mix, Complete Original Pancake Mix)
  • Red Band Flour (All Purpose, Self Rising)
  • Robin Hood Flour (All Purpose, Unbleached Flour)
  • Softasilk Cake Flour
Snacks and Drinks (vast range of flavours and combinations available in any good US supermarket)
Yoplait and Colombo (vast range of flavours and combinations available in any good US supermarket)

2002.12.08@03:26 danlowlite says re General Mills: Last year, 2001, that is, Pilsbury was purchased by General Mills, giving them a slew of frozen foods and the Green Giant name, among others. . . .


Sources
www.generamills.com
google search on a few keyowrds (names, companies, products ...)

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