Company

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history

General Mills and Pillsbury began as two separate and competing mills on opposite banks of the Mississippi River. Together, the two companies made Minneapolis one of the world’s premier milling cities.

1866

Cadwallader Washburn builds his first flour mill on the banks of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. It is one of the largest flour mills in the world.

1869

With his father and uncle, Charles Pillsbury enters the flour business, buying an interest in the failing Minneapolis Flouring Mill. Within an year, Pillsbury makes a profit.

1872

At a time when millers marked their highest-quality flour with three “X”s, Charles Pillsbury begins using four “X”s on his highest-quality flour, creating a distinction that would evolve to become the Pillsbury barrelhead trademark on Pillsbury’s Best flour.

1880

The Washburn Crosby company wins the gold medal at the first Millers International Exhibition in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company renames its highest-quality product Gold Medal flour, which remains the best-selling flour brand in the United States today.

1921

Betty Crocker is created as a pen name for answering consumer letters to the Washburn Crosby Company. Her first official portrait is created in 1936. The designer’s rendition, with a classic red jacket and white collar, established a tradition for future portraits.

1924

Wheaties, the company’s first ready-to-eat cereal, is introduced. The Washburn Crosby Company purchases a radio station (WCCO) and begins airing popular radio shows and commercials.

The birth of General Mills and expansion after the war

With a mega-merger of several regional milling companies across the United States, General Mills was created.

1928

General Mills is incorporated on June 20, 1928, and listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The new company includes some of the most respected names in flour, the General Mills becomes the largest flour milling company in the world.

1941

Cheerioats cereal is introduced. Four years later, the name is changed to Cheerios.

1951

Pillsbury purchases Ballard & Ballard Company. With the purchase comes that company’s patented refrigerated dough technology, allowing Pillsbuy to enter the category.

1978

General Mills purchases U.S. licensing rights to Yoplait yogurt.

1984

The first Häagen-Dazs shop is established in Hong Kong by General Mills, which has grown to be one of the most influential food companies in Greater China area.

1990

General Mills establishes Cereal Partners Worldwide, a joint venture with Nestlé.

2001

General Mills acquires the Pillsbury Company to form one of the world’s largest food companies.

2010

General Mills pays shareholder dividends without interruption or reduction for 111 years.