General Mills Company

In 1856 Cadwallader Colden Washburn (1818-1882) established the Minneapolis Milling Company, which began to mill flour in 1866.

It started as ‘Washburn’s Folly’. People sneered, snickered and some even laughed right out loud as Washburn completed his first grain refinery on banks of Mississippi River.

Washburn later formed Washburn-Crosby with John Crosby, twenty years later, what became one of the nation’s leading million companies.

Minneapolis Milling Company concentrated on promoting its signature product, Gold Medal Flour.

After acquiring twenty seven other milling operations, in 1928 the Washburn Mills Company incorporated as General Mills and then introduced a cereal, Washburn’s Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flakes. Its named was shortened to Wheaties.
Cheerios was created in 1941 as ‘Cheerioats’ but renamed several years later. During the 1950s, General Mills began marketing its cereal to children, and sugar-coated wheat cereals became common.

In 1997 General Mills acquired the rights to Yoplait and in 1997 the company acquired the cereals division of Ralcorp Holdings, makers of Chex cereals.

In 2001 general Mills acquired the Pillsbury Company, which had begun as the mill across the river more than one hundred years earlier, to create one of the world’s largest food companies. General Mills believed that the merger could help it break into fast-growing food categories with new products to augment its tried and true, yet quite mature cereal product lines.

In 1989, General Mills established a partnership, called the Cereal Partners Worldwide, with Nestlé to distribute its cereals outside of North America.
General Mills Company

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