General Mills, Inc. is an international manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer food products. The company is headquartered in Golden Valley, Minnesota. It is worth over 31 billion dollars as of June 2020 in total assets. The company is well-known all over the globe for marketing North American brands, Including Cheerios, Trix, Gold Medal Flour, Cocoa Puffs, Chex mix, Betty Crocker, and the list goes on. The food processing giant General Mills, Inc. has roughly 35,000 employees.
History of General Mills, Inc.
General Mills was founded in 1928 when James Ford Bell, the president of Washburn-Crosby Flour Company, decided to merge said company with three other mills. The same year General Mills, Inc. bought Wichita Mill and an elevator company owned by an industrialist named Frank Kell.
General Mills is also responsible for creating the “puffing gun” in the early 1930s, which was used to inflate pieces of cereal into puffed-up shapes, which appealed to children. In 1937, this inflation method was used to create Kix cereal, and later in 1941, it was used to make CheeriOats (later known as cheerios). This was a big step for the company in the right direction as Cheerios (to this day) are the company’s most famous cereal product line.
Later, in 1939, General Mills’ engineer Helmer Anderson invented the Anderson sealer. This new device made the sealing of flour bags much easier, more secure, and less messy as it allowed for the bags to be glued shut rather than the conventional way of being tied by a string.
General Mills, Inc. has also sponsored its fair share of television and radio shows. It was the sponsor behind the popular radio show “Lone Ranger;” this sponsorship continued as the show then aired on television. This sponsorship finally came to an end after 1961. Since its wild success in the late 1950s, General Mills sponsored many television series, such as Rocky and His Friends and Dennis the Menace. The company also bought rights to syndicate the first 65 episodes of the famous anime series Sailor Moon.
In 1965, General Mills, Inc. took its first step into the toy industry and bought Rainbow Crafts, the manufacturer of Play-Doh. General Mills brought down the product’s production costs and tripled the revenue of Rainbow Crafts.
In the 1970s, General Mills came out with its hit cereal line-up called “Monster Cereals.” These are now sold seasonally around Halloween time.
In 1970, General Mills bought a restaurant company called Red Lobster and expanded it all over America. Later, a division of General Mills named General Mills Restaurants was developed to take control of the Red Lobster chain; General Mills held the chain for 25 years and helped it become the staple restaurant it is today.
In 1990, General Mills went on a joint venture with Nestlé S.A, and as a result, Cereal Partners was formed. Which now markets General Mills products outside of US and Canada under Nestlé’s name.
General Mills is known for its enormous and delicious variety of breakfast cereals. These cereals include:
- Chex (and its variants)
Chex is an American cereal brand manufactured by General Mills. It has the following 9 flavors:
- Rice Chex
- Wheat Chex
- Corn Chex
- Honey Nut Chex
- Chocolate Chex
- Cinnamon Chex
- Apple Cinnamon Chex
- Blueberry Chex
- Peanut Butter Chex
Other flavors were discontinued, like Vanilla Chex, Honey Graham Chex, and Bran Chex. Chex has also had limited-edition flavors like Green Onion Chex, which were exclusive to South Korea.
- The Monster Cereals
The Monster Cereals is one of the reasons for General Mills’ success. This cereal was introduced in 1971, and all five variants feature a classic movie monster. The cereals are:
- Count Chocula
- Franken Berry
- Boo berry
- Fruit Brute
- Fruity Yummy Mummy
The first three return seasonally and are produced from September 1st to October 31st, while the latter two are discontinued (except for some limited production here and there).
- Cocoa Puff
Cocoa Puff is an American Chocolate-flavored puffed grain breakfast cereal introduced in 1956. The cereal is made up of small orbs of corn and rice flavored with cocoa. Cocoa puffs are sold in Canada, Latin America, and Europe under the brand name of Nesquik with a partnership with Nestlé and General Mills.
Cheerios is a brand of breakfast cereal consisting of puffed-up oats manufactured by General Mills. Cheerios is also sold as Uncle Toby’s in Australia, while Cereal Partners markets it in the rest of the world.
General Mills, Inc., at its heart, was a flour company in the start before it dabbled into the cereal industry, and it can be seen in the success of its baking products.
- Gold Medal flour
General Mills, Inc. makes more than just cereals; it started with flour, which can be seen in this brand. Gold Medal Flour sells 4 different types of flours and has been growing its brand since 1880 and has been with General Mills, Inc., since 1928 and has seen nothing but success.
General Mills also has a monopoly over the baking mix industry with its pre-mixed baking mix called Bisquick. It is sold by General Mills under the brand name Betty Crocker. General Mills created Bisquick as a result of one of its top executives meeting a creative and innovative chef in a dining car.
The mix at first was advertised to be a cookie-baking mix, but later it was prepared to be a mix for everything from pizza dough to dumplings.
With cereals and foodstuffs, General Mills also makes grain-based snacks, gummy snacks, and frozen food. Some of which are:
Bugles is a corn-based snack produced by General Mills and Tom’s Snack (also under the license of General Mills). Bugles were market-tested in 1965 and fully released in early 1966 as General Mills’ new snack.
- Chex Mix
Chex mix is a snack that uses Chex the cereal as a major component in its ingredients, as the name suggests. It has over 30 flavors still in production. The original Chex Mix came out in 1952, but the original Chex Party Mix recipe has been changed twice.
- Fruit Gushers
Fruit Gushers are a Betty Crocker fruit snack introduced back in 1991. Fruit Gushers consist of sugar, corn syrup, dried corn syrup, pear puree concentrate, modified corn starch, fructose, maltodextrin, and palm oil.
- Totino’s and Jeno’s
Totino’s and Jeno’s are brands of frozen pizza products marketed and manufactured by General Mills. Rose Totino founded a frozen-pizza manufacturing company and later sold it to Pillsbury Company, a daughter company of General Mills.
General Mills is now ranked 169 in the Fortune 500 by June 2020. It has been a great success story with delicious snacks we all remember from our childhood and cereals that most of us still eat. General Mills has played a significant part in how the food processing industry as a whole has grown. Some say it has the best cereals world has to offer. What do you think?