General Mills is an American multinational manufacturer of consumer foods that are sold through retail stores. The company was founded on June 20, 1866, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It markets some of the well-known North American brands, such as Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Annies Homegrown, Old El Paso, Trix, Lucky Charms… Besides these, the brand’s portfolio also includes 89 other leading U.S. brands.
It all started with the Minneapolis Milling Company, which was incorporated in 1856. Robert Smith, an Illinois Congressman, was the one who founded it. He hired his brother, William D. Washburn, to assist in the development of the company.
The founding of the company
General Mills was created in June 1928. It was at the time when James Ford Bell, the Washburn-Crosby President, merged Washburn-Crosby and 28 other mills.
This newly merged company paid a dividend in 1928, and it continued to do it since then, making it one of the few companies that pay a dividend every year.
Television sponsorships and merchandising
At the beginning of 1929, all the General Mills products had box top coupons, which were known as Betty Crocker coupons. They had different values, and they were redeemable for discounts on the products featured in the Betty Crocker catalog, which as widely distributed. General Mills became the sponsor of the famous radio show The Lone Ranger in 1941. Their sponsorship ended in 1961. Also, in 1946, General Mills sponsored the television series Rocky and His Friends. Until the year 1968, Bullwinkle and Rocky took part in many advertisements for General Mills. Besides, this company was also the sponsor of many cartoons from the Total TeleVision production studio.
Toys and restaurants
In 1965, General Mills took the first venture into the toy industry. The company bought Rainbow Crafts, the manufacturer of Play-Doh. Then, in the 1970s, the company came out with its Monster Cereals. They are currently produced and sold around Halloween. Around that time, General Mills also acquired a five-unit restaurant company called Red Lobster. Soon, the General Millis Restaurants division developed, and they took charge of the Red Lobster chain. Then, in the 1980s, it also acquired the Good Earth food restaurant chain.
In 1990, General Mills and Nestle S.A formed a joint venture called Cereal Partners. In 2001, it purchased Pillsbury. Since 2004, the company focused more on healthy products. For instance, they switched their entire breakfast cereal line to whole grain. They also produce cereals with less sugar, targeted to the children. Also, in April 2011, the company announced that they would switch all 1 million eggs that they use every year to cage-free. The 2012 Fortune 500 list of Americas largest corporations ranked General Mills #182, then #161 in 2015, and was also the third-largest good consumer company in the United States. In 2014, it acquired organic food producer Annies Inc, which gained a lot of positive feedback.
General Mills net worth
According to recent studies, the net worth of this company is around $15.620 billion.