The History of General Mills
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General Mills, Inc.
General Mills logo.svg
S&P 500 Component
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. (1928)
James Ford Bell
Golden Valley, Minnesota, United States
Kendall J. Powell
(Chairman and CEO)
Baking mixes, Breakfast cereals, yogurt, refrigerated dough, soup, pizza, snack foods, ice cream, soy products, vegetables, flour, and other food products...
Increase US$ 17.90 billion (2014) 
Increase US$ 2.95 billion (2014)
Increase US$ 1.82 billion (2014)
Increase US$ 23.14 billion (2014)
Decrease US$ 6.53 billion (2014)
Number of employees
General Mills, Inc., is an American multinational manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer foods sold through retail stores. It is headquartered in the Minneapolis suburb of Golden Valley, Minnesota. The company markets many well-known North American brands, such as Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Colombo, Totino's, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Häagen-Dazs, Cheerios, Trix, Cocoa Puffs and 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
1.3 Merchandising and television sponsorships
1.4 More diversification: toys and restaurants
1.5 Recent history
1.6 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
4.5 Organic food
4.6 Other brands
5 Company locations
6 See also
8 External links
Advertisement, late 1880s
Washburn-Crosby Company 
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 the Saint Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River. 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. In that same year, Washburn sent 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. The old grinding stones were replaced with automatic steel rollers. These new rollers were the first used throughout the world. Winter Wheat Flour was replaced by this new flour.
In 1880, Wasburn-Crosby flour brands won gold, silver and bronze medals at the Millers' International Exhibition in Cincinnati.
In 1924, the company stepped in to take over a failing Twin Cities radio station, WLAG, renaming it WCCO (from Washburn-Crosby Company).
General Mills itself was created in 1928 when Washburn-Crosby President James Ford Bell directed his company to merge with 26 other mills.
In 1928, 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, known as 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 site of General Mills today on the Mississippi River at Minneapolis
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. General Mills was also a sponsor of the Saturday-morning cartoons from the Total TeleVision productions studio, including Tennessee Tuxedo.  The company also was a sponsor of the ABC western series, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, starring Hugh O'Brian.
More 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 Halloween. 
In 1970, General Mills acquired a five-unit restaurant company called Red Lobster and expanded it nationwide. Soon, a division of General Mills titled 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 apparel companies, Talbots and Eddie Bauer. The acquisition was short-lived. Talbots was purchased by a Japanese company, then known as 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 of 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, 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.
Recent history 
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 Nestlé name.
In 2001, the company purchased Pillsbury from Diageo, although it was officially described as a "merger".
Since 2004, 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. According to nutritionists, whole grains are a much healthier choice when choosing grain products. The company also started manufacturing their child-targeted cereals with less sugar. General Mills has reduced the level of sugar to all cereals advertised to children to 11 grams per serving. On December 26, 2004, Peel, Michael A., officer of General Mills Inc, exercised an option for 27,562 shares of common at $26.22 each on Dec. 16.
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  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 workforce.
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 2014, 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 2015.
In 2015, citing climate change, General Mills promised to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 28 percent over 10 years. 
General Mills' corporate campus in Golden Valley, Minnesota.1930s: 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).
1939: 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.
1956: General Mills creates the tear-strip for easily opening packages [clarification needed]
As of April 2010, the company's management included: 
Kendall J. Powell – Chief Executive Officer; Chairman of the Board
Y. Marc Belton: Executive Vice President, Worldwide Health, Brand and New Business Development
John Church – Senior Vice President, Supply Chain
Jacqueline R. Williams-Roll – Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources
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 Officer
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; President, 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 disputes with General Mills to be resolved in small claims court or arbitration and not as a participant in a class action. Users would be deemed to accept the terms by interacting with 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 stated that the agreement could be interpreted to additionally construe purchasing General Mills products at a grocery store or liking the company's Facebook page as assent to the terms; General Mills disclaimed that interpretation, describing that interpretation as 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.
Company brands 
Breakfast cereals 
General Mills's breakfast cereals include:
Cheerios and its variants
Chex and its variants
Cinnamon Toast Crunch
French Toast Crunch
Chocolate Golden Grahams
Honey Nut Clusters
Peanut Butter Toast Crunch
Raisin Nut Bran
Some brands are marketed outside the US and Canada by the Cereal Partners joint venture using the Nestlé brand.
General Mills cereals no longer manufactured include:
Banana Wackies / Wackies (introduced 1965; discontinued 1968)
Baron Von Redberry and Sir Grapefellow (introduced 1972, discontinued 1975)
Benefit (which contained psyllium, an Indian-grown grain used as a laxative and cholesterol-reducer)
Body Buddies (introduced 1979; two flavors, Brown Sugar & Honey and Natural Fruit Flavor)
Buñuelitos ("Sweetened corn puffs with cinnamon and a touch of honey... Traditional south of the border flavor made right here in the U.S.A.")
Chocolate Flavor Donutz (introduced 1982; discontinued 1984)
Clackers (introduced 1968; discontinued 1973) - graham cracker-flavored
Clusters (introduced 1987)
Country Corn Flakes (introduced 1961)
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 Cereals assortments
Hi-Pro (introduced 1958; discontinued 1964)
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 Cheerios
Mr. Wonderful's Surprise ("Only Cereal with a Creamy Chocolate Filling")
Neopets Islandberry Crunch (based on the Neopets online virtual pet community)
Powdered Donutz (introduced 1981; discontinued 1984)
Princess Fairytale Flakes
S'Mores Grahams / S'Mores Crunch
Star Wars Episode II (based on the 2002 film Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones)
Sugar Jets (introduced 1954) 
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 & Back
It also produces fruit snacks, including Fruit by the Foot, Fruit Gushers, Fruit Roll-Ups, and Fruit Shapes.
The company's grain-snack brands include:
Fiber One bars
The company's meal products brands include:
Old El Paso
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 Frescarini, Latina, Totino's, Jeno's, Progresso, Columbo, and Yoplait (51%). It also produces Häagen-Dazs ice cream outside of the US.
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
Buffalo, New York
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Golden Valley, Minnesota
Great Falls, Montana
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
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.
See also 
Portal icon Companies portal
DSV Alvin, deep-ocean research submersible owned by the United States Navy. Constructed by General Mills.
List of food companies
List of Minnesota companies
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27.Jump up ^ "General Mills announces new commitment on climate change" (Press release). General Mills. August 30, 2015. Retrieved September 4, 2015.
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31.Jump up ^ Weiss, Debra Cassens (2014-04-17). "Buying a General Mills product eliminates the right to sue, according to online legal terms". ABAJournal. American Bar Association. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
32.Jump up ^ Sherman, Erik (2014-04-18). "General Mills adds legal fine print that raises questions". CBS News. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
33.^ Jump up to: a b Strom, Stephanie (2014-04-17). "General Mills Amends New Legal Policies". New York Times. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
34.Jump up ^ Gray, Jeff (2014-04-19). "General Mills abandons controversial legal policy to strip consumers of rights". The Globe And Mail. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
35.Jump up ^ Foster, Kirstie (2014-04-19). "We’ve listened – and we’re changing our legal terms back". generalmills.com. General Mills. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
36.Jump up ^ Murphy, Esme (2014-04-20). "Talking Points: General Mills Reverses Lawsuit Change". CBS Minnesota. WCCO-TV. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
37.Jump up ^ "Curves Honey Crunch," mrbreakfast.com
38.Jump up ^ "French Toast Crunch cereal is back," money.cnn.com
39.Jump up ^ "Peanut Butter Toast Crunch," mrbreakfast.com
40.Jump up ^ 1965 General Mills Banana Wackies cereal TV commercial, YouTube
41.Jump up ^ 1972 Baron Von Redberry cereal commercial, YouTube
42.Jump up ^ "Benefit," mrbreakfast.com
43.^ Jump up to: a b c Tropf, Zach, "A Tribute to Discontinued Cereals," grub.gunaxin.com, March 4, 2009
44.Jump up ^ "Buñuelitos," mrbreakfast.com
45.Jump up ^ 1986 General Mills Circus Fun cereal commercial, YouTube
46.Jump up ^ Vintage TV Commercial: Clackers Cereal, YouTube
47.Jump up ^ "Clusters," mrbreakfast.com
48.Jump up ^ Country Corn Flakes Commercial (1963), YouTube
49.Jump up ^ 1978 Crazy Cow Cereal TV commercial, YouTube
50.Jump up ^ 1986 General Mills Crispy Wheats 'n Raisins cereal commercial, YouTube
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52.Jump up ^ Frosty O's Cereal Commercial 1966, YouTube
53.Jump up ^ FRUIT BRUTE! The First one! YouTube
54.Jump up ^ First Yummy Mummy! YouTube
55.Jump up ^ 1959 General Mills Cereal Commercials Rocky and Bullwinkle 2, YouTube
56.Jump up ^ "Harmony," mrbreakfast.com
57.Jump up ^ Rocky and Bullwinkle for Jets Cereal, YouTube
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59.Jump up ^ "Millenios," mrbreakfast.com
60.Jump up ^ Pruner, Aaron, "Ten of the Weirdest, Creepiest Breakfast Cereals Ever Made," FearNet, fearnet.com/news/list, March 17, 2014
61.Jump up ^ "Neopets Islandberry Crunch," mrbreakfast.com
62.Jump up ^ Pac-Man cereal commercial (early 80's), YouTube
63.Jump up ^ "Princess Fairytale Flakes," mrbreakfast.com
64.Jump up ^ "Star Wars Episode II," mrbreakfast.com
65.Jump up ^ 1964 Sugar Jets cereal TV commercial, YouTube
66.Jump up ^ "Sunrise," mrbreakfast.com
67.Jump up ^ 1960's General Mills Twinkles Cereal and Cartoon Commercial, YouTube
68.Jump up ^ "USA Olympic Crunch," mrbreakfast.com
69.Jump up ^ Vintage Wheat Hearts Cereal Commercial, YouTube
70.Jump up ^ "Wheat Stax," mrbreakfast.com
71.Jump up ^ General Mills SEC Form 10K, filed July 11, 2008.
72.Jump up ^ "FORM 10-K". Sec.gov. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
Official website – Canada
Official recipe website – Canada
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Categories: General Mills
1866 establishments in Minnesota
Breakfast cereal companies
Companies based in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Companies established in 1866
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Former components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average
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Hennepin County, Minnesota
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This page was last modified on 2 October 2015, at 14:15.