- General Mills, Inc.
Leading U.S. producer of packaged foods, flour, breakfast cereals, snacks, and prepared mixes.General Mills was incorporated in 1928 to acquire Washburn Crosby Co. and four other milling companies. Specializing in cereals and flour products, the company introduced Wheaties and Cheerios breakfast cereals, Gold Medal flour, and Bisquick baking mix, as well as the Betty Crocker line of products. It diversified into industries such as toys and fashion in the 1960s but by the 1990s was again dealing exclusively with consumer foods. General Mills acquired one of its chief rivals, Pillsbury Co., in 2001. Its headquarters are in Minneapolis.
* * *▪ American companyleading American producer of packaged consumer foods, especially flour, breakfast cereals, snacks, prepared mixes, and similar products. It is also one of the largest food service manufacturers in the world. Headquarters are in Minneapolis, Minnesota.General Mills was incorporated in 1928 to acquire Washburn Crosby Company, a flour-milling company formed in 1866, and four other milling companies. Specializing in cereals and flour products, the company grew as a food processor through the years of the Great Depression. Familiar products include Wheaties and Cheerios (originally introduced as Cheerioats in 1941; renamed Cheerios four years later) breakfast cereals, Gold Medal flour, Yoplait yogurt, and Bisquick baking mix. During those early years, the company also created the personage of Betty Crocker, who became of one of the most widely known food advisers in the United States. The name Betty Crocker became a leading brand of cake mixes and other goods used in home baking.The company began to diversify its activities in the early 1960s. It sold off a number of unprofitable flour mills and moved into such areas as snack foods, children's toys and games, and fashion. By the mid-1980s, however, the company began selling off many of the nonfood units it had acquired in the '60s. Once again focused on consumer foods, the company extended its business by purchasing the Chex cereal and snack brands in 1997 from the former Ralston Purina (Ralston Purina Company). General Mills then doubled in size when it acquired one of its major rivals, Pillsbury (Pillsbury Company), in 2001. The acquisition brought General Mills a variety of Pillsbury brands and products, including the Pillsbury Doughboy and associated foods, Green Giant vegetables, and the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest.
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