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 to 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. As customers become more interested in organic, whole food, General Mills has tried to respond.
- General Mills is a consumer food powerhouse whose products include cereals, soups, pizzas, desserts, and pet food.
- The company distributes its products through membership stores, such as Sam’s Club, and food-service distributors.
- Popular brands owned by General Mills include the pet food brand Blue Buffalo, Epic Provisions, Annie's Inc., Small Planet Foods, Pillsbury, and Häagen-Dazs Japan.
Understanding General Mills Brands
Here are some businesses, old and new, owned by General Mills.
The most recent acquisition by General Mills is Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc. The company 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. Founded in 2003, Blue Buffalo is the fastest-growing major pet food company in the United States with $1.3 billion in net sales and $319 million in adjusted EBITDA (adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) reported for fiscal year 2017.
General Mills purchased EPIC Provisions on Jan. 6, 2016. EPIC is a snack company based in Austin, Texas, and the business produces natural, meat-based snacks, including EPIC Bars, EPIC Bites, and Harvest Mix. This acquisition allowed General Mills to compete in a new snack category and increased the firm’s line of organic products. EPIC sells meat, fruit, and nut bars through stores such as Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Natural Grocers.
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. The owners sold a successful white cheddar popcorn business to Frito-Lay before starting Annie’s. 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.
Small Planet Foods
General Mills purchased Small Planet Foods in 2000. Small Planet’s product line includes Cascadian Farm, an organic food producer with more than 75 products including cereals, granola bars, and frozen fruits. Muir Glen is another product line from Small Planet, and this company sells tomato-based products such as canned tomatoes, pasta sauce, salsa, and ketchup. Small Planet also carries the Larabar snack bar line along with Food Should Taste Good chips. All of Small Planet’s product offerings focus on organic, natural ingredients.
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, and Bisquick breakfast products. The Pillsbury purchase allowed General Mills to diversify its product line, which was heavily dependent on cereals, to drive revenue.
General Mills has a joint partnership with Häagen-Dazs Japan, a company that was sold to Pillsbury in 1983 and acquired by General Mills when Pillsbury was purchased in 2001. Häagen-Dazs Japan offers ice cream flavors and other products that are only sold in Japan.
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, including Cheerios.
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. As an example, the company is expanding its Pillsbury frozen breakfast product line to serve the K-12 school market, along with Old El Paso lunch products. General Mills also sells products through traditional grocery stores and natural food stores.
General Mills has a huge presence in the United States and in international markets. The company continues to acquire food businesses to add market share and address customer preferences.