What Is General Mills?
General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS) is a consumer food company that sells its products through retail sales, convenience stores, and food-service distributors. General Mills serves customers in more than 100 countries on six continents.
U.S. consumers purchase many General Mills products, including cereals, soups, pizzas, and desserts, from grocery stores. The company also sells products through membership stores such as Sam’s Club as well as food-service distributors, drug stores, and dollar stores.
- General Mills is a consumer food powerhouse whose products include cereals, soups, pizzas, desserts, and pet food.
- General Mills has been expanding its presence in the pet treat industry with recent acquisitions of Blue Buffalo and Tyson Food's pet treat portfolios.
- General Mills may be most known for its baking line including Betty Crocker and Pillsbury.
- General Mills owns many cereal brands including Cheerios, Trix, Lucky Charms, Count Chocola, and Cocoa Puffs.
- Other major brands of General Mills includes Annie's, Nature Valley, and Häagen-Dazs.
Understanding General Mills Brands
General Mills owns a collection of over 100 brands, and the company often reports on these brands based on their availability in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. Its range of businesses include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert as well as raw ingredients and pet food.
In the company's 2021 Annual Report, General Mills noted four ways it would continue to be an industry winner by continuing to boldly build brands, relentlessly innovate, unleashing its scale, and being a force for good. In no particular order, here are some businesses, old and new, owned by General Mills.
Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc. was acquired in April 2018 for $8 billion. With the addition of Blue Buffalo, General Mills became the leader in the Wholesome Natural pet food category. Blue Buffalo sells dry food, wet food, and treats for dogs and cats.
The leader in the company's pet segment, Blue Buffalo helped drive 27% net sales growth through the first six months of General Mills' 2022 fiscal year. Blue Buffalo, also known for its healthier product alternatives for pets, helped increase organic net sales 16% during this time.
In an effort to continue its expansion into the pet treat industry, General Mills acquired Tyson Foods' pet treat portfolio for $1.2 billion in cash.
In 1921, Betty Crocker began providing cooking and baking guidance by responding to letters. Over 100 years later, this General Mills company has relaunched 12 editions of the famous "big red" cookbook. In 1954, General Mills trademark the red spoon logo that is still used today.
The Betty Crocker product line has always historically been geared towards baking. Often most known for cake mixes, brownie mixes, cookie mixes, and frosting, Betty Crocker also owns brands including Bisquick, Fruit by the Foot, Gushers, Fruit Roll-Up, and Hamburger Helper products. Betty Crocker also sells instant potato and instant pasta salad products.
General Mills acquired Annie’s Inc. in October 2014. Annie’s is an organic food company founded in 1989, and the co-founders formed the business to make an organic macaroni and cheese product for families. Since the company’s founding, the firm has expanded into pasta, snacks, soups, and yogurt products.
The business focuses on simple, natural ingredients. In 2005, Annie’s purchased Annie’s Ingredients, a separate company that makes organic salad dressing and condiments. Annie’s is a firm that benefits from growing brand loyalty for organic foods.
General Mills became the first major food company to sell granola bars when the Nature Valley crunchy granola bar made its debut in 1975. Today, the brand has taken steps to making its product more sustainable by committing to fully-recyclable packaging for all Nature Valley products by 2025.
Nature Valley segregates its product lines into three categories: bars, snacks, and granola. Its bars product line encompasses crunchy, fruit, nut, soft-baked, protein, and wafer varieties, while its snack product line includes biscuits, biscuit sandwiches, and oatmeal squares.
General Mills closed its purchase of the Pillsbury division of Diageo PLC in 2001. Pillsbury continues to produce many popular food brands including Old El Paso Mexican food, Green Giant vegetables, Progresso Soup, and Yoplait yogurt. The company is also known for its biscuits, cookies, crescent roll, and cinnamon roll products.
Started in Minneapolis over 150 years ago, Pillsbury is often known most for the Pillsbury Doughboy. The company is also famous for its famous annual Bake-Off contest, first running in 1949. Pillsbury's branding approach also includes the collection and distribution of a repository of recipes via their website.
The Pillsbury Doughboy's real name is Poppin' Fresh. Standing 8 ¾ inches tall with his had, the mascot of Pillsbury's first commercial was aired Nov. 7, 1965.
Created in 1960, Häagen-Dazs start with just three flavors. Today, its ice cream is distributed to over 90 countries, and the company has its own personal storefront in 40 countries. The first Häagen-Dazs shop in Brooklyn Heights, New York is still open today.
General Mills has a joint partnership with Häagen-Dazs to manage and oversee operations outside of North American markets. Previously owned by Nestle, the United States product line is now overseen by Froneri as part of a Decembe 2019 acquisition.
Although Häagen-Dazs is widely known for its ice cream, it boasts a diverse product line with a variety of distribution methods. The company sells tubs, minicups, multipacks, and stickbars. It also has special collection products including its DUO Ice Cream Collection (two ice creams in one container).
Ice Cream and Cocktails
Häagen-Dazs' Cocktails Ice Cream Collection are concoctions containing less than 1.1% alcohol. This special collection is currently only being sold in tubs with flavors of pina colada and lime mojito sorbet.
Cereal Partners Worldwide
Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW) is a joint venture with Nestlé, and the business is the second-largest cereal maker in the world. CPW distributes cereal brands to 150 countries worldwide, including gluten-free and lower-sugar versions of popular brands. Established in 1990, the partnership employs over 4,000 individuals, operates 17 factories, and has sales teams in more than 130 markets.
Cereal Partners Worldwide is behind some of the most recognizable cereal and breakfast brands including Nesquik, Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, Chex, and Count Chocula.
General Mills has several distribution channels. Convenience store customers, for example, are most interested in ready-to-eat products, which means that cereals, snacks, yogurt, and breakfast items drive sales in this market. The food-service market, on the other hand, provides food to restaurants, hotels, hospitals, vending machines, and schools.
General Mills has a huge presence in the United States and in international markets. The company continues to acquire and divest food businesses to add market share and address customer preferences. In addition to the Tyson Foods' pet treat acquisition, General Mills divested from the European Yoplait operations, selling 51% of controlling interest in 2021.
How Many Subsidiaries Does General Mills Own?
As of May 2022, General Mills has over 100 subsidiaries.
Who Are the Big Competitors of General Mills?
General Mills' competitors are other global food distributors. Having expanded to many different product lines, General Mills product line composition is unique. However, it still competes with Nestle, Seneca Foods, Kraft Heinz, Kelloggs, and Mondelez.
Who Owns General Mills?
General Mills is a publicly-owned entity with over 100 subsidiaries. As of December 2021, Vanguard Group owned over 50.7 million company shares and was the largest holder of General Mills shares.
What Major Brands Does General Mills Own?
General Mills brands includes Annie's, Betty Crocker, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Pillsbury, Haagen-Dazs, and Blue Buffalo. It also has ownership in various cereal products including Cheerios, Chex, Lucky Charms, Trix, and Cocoa Puffs.