GENERAL MILLS, INC., is an American multinational manufacturer and
marketer of branded consumer foods sold through retail stores. It is
headquartered in Golden Valley,
Minnesota , a suburb of
The company markets many well-known North American brands, such as
Annie\'s Homegrown ,
Betty Crocker ,
Yoplait , Colombo , Totino\'s ,
Old El Paso ,
Cheerios , Trix , Cocoa Puffs
Lucky Charms . Its brand portfolio includes more than 89 other
leading U.S. brands and numerous category leaders around the world.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Washburn-Crosby Company
* 1.2 Founding
* 1.3 Merchandising and television sponsorships
* 1.4 Aeronautical Research Division and Electronics Division
* 1.5 Diversification: toys and restaurants
* 1.6 Recent history
* 1.7 Engineering milestones
* 2 Corporate governance
* 3 Change to legal terms
* 4 Company brands
* 4.1 Breakfast cereals
* 4.1.1 Discontinued cereals
* 4.2 Baking goods
* 4.3 Grain snacks
* 4.4 Meal products
* 4.6 Other brands
* 5 Company locations
* 6 See also
* 7 References
* 8 External links
Advertisement, late 1880s
The company can trace its history to the MINNEAPOLIS MILLING COMPANY,
incorporated in 1856. The company was founded by Illinois Congressman
Robert Smith , who leased power rights to mills operating along the
west side of
Saint Anthony Falls on the
Mississippi River in
Cadwallader C. Washburn
Cadwallader C. Washburn acquired the company
shortly after its founding and hired his brother William D. Washburn
to assist in the company's development. In 1866 the Washburns got into
the business themselves, building the Washburn "B" Mill at the falls.
At the time, the building was considered to be so large and output so
vast that it could not possibly sustain itself. However, the company
succeeded, and in 1874 he built the even bigger
Washburn "A" Mill .
In 1877 the mill entered a partnership with John Crosby to form the
WASHBURN-CROSBY COMPANY, producing
Winter Wheat Flour. That same year
William Hood Dunwoody to England to open the market for
spring wheat. Dunwoody was successful and became a silent partner.
In 1878 the "A" mill was destroyed in a flour dust explosion along
with five nearby buildings. The ensuing fire led to the death of 18
workers. Construction of a new mill began immediately. Not only was
the new mill safer but it also was able to produce a higher quality
flour after the old grinding stones were replaced with automatic steel
rollers, the first ever used.
In 1880 Washburn-Crosby flour brands won gold, silver and bronze
medals at the Millers' International Exhibition in
causing them to launch the Gold Medal flour brand.
In 1924 the company stepped in to take over a failing Twin Cities
WLAG , renaming it WCCO (from Washburn-Crosby Company).
GENERAL MILLS itself was created in June 1928 when Washburn-Crosby
James Ford Bell directed his company to merge with 26 other
General Mills acquired the Wichita Mill and Elevator Company
of the industrialist
Frank Kell of Wichita Falls ,
Texas . With the
sale, Kell acquired cash plus stock in the corporation. Postcard
image of the Gold Medal
Flour factory in
Minneapolis around 1900
MERCHANDISING AND TELEVISION SPONSORSHIPS
Beginning in 1929,
General Mills products contained box top coupons,
Betty Crocker coupons, with varying point values, which were
redeemable for discounts on a variety of housewares products featured
in the widely distributed
Betty Crocker catalog. The coupons and the
catalog were discontinued by the company in 2006. A similar program,
Box Tops for Education, in which coupon icons clipped off various
General Mills products can be redeemed by schools for cash, started in
1996 and is still active.
General Mills became the sponsor of the popular radio show The Lone
Ranger in 1941. The show was then brought to television, and, after 20
years, their long-term sponsorship came to an end in 1961. Former
General Mills today on the
Mississippi River at
Beginning in 1959,
General Mills sponsored the Rocky and His Friends
television series , later known as The Bullwinkle Show . Until 1968,
Rocky and Bullwinkle were featured in a variety of advertisements for
General Mills was also a sponsor of the
Saturday-morning cartoons from the Total TeleVision productions
Tennessee Tuxedo . The company also was a sponsor
of the ABC western series
The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp , starring
Hugh O\'Brian .
AERONAUTICAL RESEARCH DIVISION AND ELECTRONICS DIVISION
General Mills established their Aeronautical Research
Division with chief engineer Otto C. Winzen. This division developed
high altitude balloons in conjunction with the
United States Navy
Office of Naval Research (ONR), such as the
Skyhook balloon .
General Mills Electronics division developed the DSV Alvin
submersible, which is notable for being used in investigating the
wreck of Titanic among other deep-sea exploration missions.
DIVERSIFICATION: TOYS AND RESTAURANTS
The first venture
General Mills took into the toy industry was in
1965. The company bought Rainbow Crafts, which was the manufacturer of
Play-Doh . General Mills' purchase of the company was substantial
because it brought production costs down and tripled the revenue.
General Mills came out with their "Monster Cereals" in the 1970s. The
cereals are now produced and sold seasonally around
General Mills acquired a five-unit restaurant company called
Red Lobster and expanded it nationwide. Soon, a division of General
General Mills Restaurants developed to take charge of the
Red Lobster chain. In 1980,
General Mills acquired the
California-based Good Earth health food restaurant chain. GM
eventually converted the restaurants into other chain restaurants they
were operating, such as Red Lobster. In 1982, General Mills
Restaurants founded a new Italian-themed restaurant chain called Olive
Garden . Another themed restaurant,
China Coast , was added before the
entire group was spun off to
General Mills shareholders in 1995 as
Darden Restaurants .
During the same decade,
General Mills ventured further, starting the
General Mills Specialty Retail Group. They acquired two clothing and
Eddie Bauer . The acquisition was
Talbots was purchased by a Japanese company, then known
JUSCO , and the Spiegel company purchased Bauer. Spiegel later
declared bankruptcy, yet Bauer still remains, albeit in a smaller
presence in the
United States today.
Washburn "A" Mill , the
producer of Gold Medal Flour, now the
Minnesota Historical Society
Mill City Museum
From 1976 to 1985,
General Mills went to court as the parent company
Parker Brothers , which held the rights on the brand name and
gaming idea of the board game
Monopoly , claiming that the so-called
Anti-Monopoly game of an economics professor infringed their
trademark. The dispute extended up to the
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court , which
ruled against them, saying that while they have exclusive rights to
the game Monopoly, they can not prevent others from using the word
"monopoly " in the name of a game.
In 1985, General Mills' toy division was separated from its parent as
Kenner Parker Toys, Inc. There were many potential acquirers of the
business but it was floated on the stock exchange with General Mills'
shareholders getting equivalent shares in Kenner Parker. This was more
tax efficient for General Mills.
In 1990, a joint venture with
Nestlé S.A. called
Cereal Partners was
formed which markets cereals (including many existing General Mills
cereal brands) outside the US and Canada under the
In 2001, the company purchased Pillsbury from
Diageo , although it
was officially described as a "merger".
General Mills has been producing more products targeted
to the growing ranks of health-conscious consumers. The company has
chosen to switch its entire breakfast cereal line to whole grain . The
company also started manufacturing their child-targeted cereals with
General Mills has reduced the level of sugar to all
cereals advertised to children to 11 grams per serving. The company's
recent marketing to children included the advergame Millsberry, a
virtual city that included games featuring
General Mills products. The
site launched in August 2004 and ran through December 2010.
In April, 2011
General Mills announced that it will switch all 1
million eggs it uses each year to cage-free.
General Mills was ranked #181 on the 2012
Fortune 500 list of
America's largest corporations, 161 in 2015 and was the third-largest
food consumer products company in the United States. During June
2012, the company's vice-president for diversity stated that General
Mills opposes a
Minnesota amendment banning gay marriage, stating that
the company values "inclusion". The company received positive
feedback for its stand which might attract people to its global
The company announced in September 2014 that it would acquire organic
food producer Annie’s Inc. for a fee of around $820 million, as part
of its strategy to expand in the US natural foods market. In October
General Mills announced plans to cut 700 to 800 jobs, mostly in
U.S., in corporate restructuring planned to be completed by the end of
In 2015, citing climate change,
General Mills promised to reduce its
greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent over 10 years. In December
2016, the company announced it would be restructuring, splitting into
four business groups based on global region, and cutting as many as
General Mills' corporate campus in Golden Valley,
General Mills engineer, Thomas R. James, creates the
puffing gun, which inflates or distorts cereal pieces into puffed up
shapes. This new technology was used in 1937 to create Kix cereal and
in 1941 to create Cheerioats (known today as Cheerios).
General Mills engineer Helmer Anderson creates the Anderson
sealer. This new device allowed for bags of flour to be sealed with
glue instead of just being tied with a string.
General Mills creates the tear-strip for easily opening
As of April 2010 , the company's management included:
* Kendall J. Powell –
Chief Executive Officer ;
Chairman of the
* Y. Marc Belton:
Executive Vice President , Worldwide Health, Brand
and New Business Development
* John Church – Senior Vice President,
* Jacqueline R. Williams-Roll – Senior Vice President, Global
* Peter C. Erickson – Senior Vice President, Innovation,
Technology and Quality
* Ian R. Friendly – Executive Vice President; Chief Operating
Officer , U.S. Retail
* Donal L. Mulligan – Executive Vice President; Chief Financial
* Christopher D. O'Leary – Executive Vice President; Chief
Operating Officer, International
* Roderick A. Palmore – Executive Vice President; General Counsel
, Chief Compliance and
Risk Management Officer
* Jeffrey J. Rotsch – Executive Vice President, Worldwide Sales
and Channel Development
* Christina L. Shea – Senior Vice President, External Relations;
General Mills Community Action and Foundation
CHANGE TO LEGAL TERMS
In April 2014, the company announced that it had changed its legal
terms on its website to introduce an arbitration clause requiring all
General Mills to be resolved in small claims court or
arbitration and not as a participant in a class action . The change
was made shortly after a judge's March 26, 2014 denial of a motion to
dismiss a class action regarding the marketing of the company's Nature
Valley brand products. Users would be deemed to accept the terms by
General Mills on its website in various ways, such as
downloading coupons, subscribing to newsletters, or participating in
Internet forums hosted on the website.
The New York Times
The New York Times stated
that the agreement could be interpreted to additionally construe
General Mills products at a grocery store or liking the
company's Facebook page as assent to the terms; General Mills
disclaimed that interpretation, calling it a "mischaracterization".
The change in terms resulted in a massive backlash of protests via
consumer groups and social media, and
General Mills reverted the terms
back to the original content after only a few days.
General Mills's breakfast cereals include:
* Basic 4
Cheerios and its variants
Chex and its variants
Cinnamon Toast Crunch
* Count Chocula
* Fiber One
French Toast Crunch
* Gold Flakes
Honey Nut Clusters
* Peanut Butter Toast Crunch
* Raisin Nut Bran
* Reese\'s Puffs
Some brands are marketed outside the US and Canada by the Cereal
Partners joint venture using the
General Mills cereals no longer manufactured include:
* Banana Wackies / Wackies (introduced 1965; discontinued 1968)
* Baron Von Redberry and
Sir Grapefellow (introduced 1972,
* Benefit (which contained psyllium , an Indian-grown grain used as
a laxative and cholesterol-reducer)
* Body Buddies (introduced 1979; two flavors, Brown Sugar
* Circus Fun
* Clackers (introduced 1968; discontinued 1973) - graham
* Clusters (introduced 1987)
* Country Corn Flakes (introduced 1961)
* Crazy Cow A chocolate corn cereal which resmbles cocoa puffs
(introduced 1978, discontinued, 1980)
* Crispy Wheats 'n Raisins (introduced 1980)
E.T. Cereal (introduced 1984, discontinued 1986)
* Fingos ("The Cereal Made to Eat with Your Fingers")
* Frosty O's (introduced 1959; discontinued 1979)
* Fruit Brute (introduced 1974; discontinued 1982)
* Fruity Yummy Mummy
* Goodness Pack, an assortment of eight single-serving boxes of
different cereals, designed to compete with Kellogg\'s and Post
* Hi-Pro (introduced 1958; discontinued 1964)
* Hidden Treasures
* Ice Cream Cones Cereal (Vanilla and Chocolate Chip flavors)
* Jets (formerly Sugar Jets; discontinued 1974) (with Rocky and
Bullwinkle as mascots)
* Jurassic Park Crunch
* Kaboom (introduced 1969)
* Looney Tunes: Back in Action
* Millenios from
* Mr. Wonderful's Surprise ("Only Cereal with a Creamy Chocolate
Neopets Islandberry Crunch (based on the
Neopets online virtual
* Powdered Donutz (introduced 1981; discontinued 1984)
* Princess Fairytale Flakes
* Rocky Road
* S'Mores Grahams / S'Mores Crunch
* Sprinkle Spangles
Star Wars Episode II (based on the 2002 film Star Wars: Episode II
– Attack of the Clones )
* Strawberry Shortcake
* Sugar Jets (introduced 1954)
* Sunrise Organic
* Triples (introduced 1991)
* Twinkles (introduced 1960; discontinued 1973)
* USA Olympic Crunch (a tie-in with the
1998 Winter Olympics in
Nagano, Japan )
* Wheat Hearts (with
Peabody and Sherman as mascots)
* Wheat Stax (introduced 1966; discontinued 1971) ("Now there's a
cereal you can stack")
The company's baking-goods brands include:
Bisquick (now a
Betty Crocker brand)
* Gold Medal Flour
* Knack -webkit-column-width: 15em; column-width: 15em;">
* Cascadian Farms
* Fiber One bars
The company's meal products brands include:
* Diablitos Underwood
Old El Paso
* Wanchai Ferry
It also produces organic foods , via Cascadian Farm , which they took
over when they bought Small Planet Foods, and Muir Glen. More
recently, as of 2014, it has purchased Annie\'s Homegrown .
Other company brands include Annie's, Frescarini, Latina, Totino\'s ,
Progresso , Columbo , and
Yoplait (51%). It also produces
Häagen-Dazs ice cream outside of the US.
General Mills acquired the
meat-based brand Epic Provisions in 2016.
As of 25 May 2008 , 79 facilities for the production of a wide
variety of food products were in operation. Of these facilities, 49
are located in the US, 12 in the Asia/Pacific region (8 of which are
leased), 5 in Canada (2 of which are leased), 7 in Europe (3 of which
are leased), 5 in Latin America and Mexico, and one in South Africa.
Principal production facilities are located in:
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
* Golden Valley,
Great Falls, Montana
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
New Albany, Indiana
Reed City, Michigan
Vineland, New Jersey
West Chicago, Illinois
International bakeries and food service facilities are in:
* Berwick , United Kingdom
Cagua , Venezuela
Guangzhou , China
Rooty Hill , Australia
Mt. Waverley , Australia
San Adrian , Spain
The company also has a Global Business Solutions (GBS) division in
Mumbai, India. Its prominent brand in India is Pillsbury although it
has opened a premium ice cream parlour of Häagen Dazs ice cream in
Delhi and Mumbai.
* Companies portal
List of food companies
* List of
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– via YouTube.
* ^ VINTAGE TV COMMERCIAL - CLACKERS CEREAL - MAN TRYING TO KARATE
CHOP A CLACKERS BOX. November 30, 2011 – via YouTube.
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Urlesque. Archived from the original on March 2, 2012.
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Rocky and Bullwinkle 2.
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Rocky and Bullwinkle for Jets Cereal - Boxing. June 30, 2013
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* ^ "Chiller - Scary Good".
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Neopets Islandberry Crunch Cereal - MrBreakfast.com".
Pac-Man cereal commercial (early 80\'s). December 14, 2006 –
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* ^ "
Star Wars Episode II Cereal - MrBreakfast.com".
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General Mills Twinkles Cereal and Cartoon Commercial.
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* ^ VINTAGE WHEAT HEARTS CEREAL COMMERCIAL - MR. PEABODY & HIS "PET
BOY" SHERMAN. September 20, 2012 – via YouTube.
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* Official website
* Official website – Canada