Headquarters: Golden Valley, MN
2015 Sales: $17.6 billion
2014 Sales: $17.9 billion
General Mills saw a slight decline from 2014 to 2015, and that pattern continued for fiscal 2016, which saw sales drop 6 percent to $16.6 billion. However, General Mills continues to streamline its global operations, and operating profit was up 30 percent from 2015 to 2016. In a release reporting on the fiscal 2016 results in June 2016, Ken Powell, chairman and CEO, said, “We made important progress strengthening our business model and bringing our Consumer First strategy to life in our brands in fiscal 2016.” He cited expansion of the Annie’s brand as a growth area, along with the acquisition of EPIC brand meat snacks.
General Mills celebrated its 150th year in business during 2016. (For a timeline of notable General Mills events through the years, see “General Mills celebrates 150 Years of innovation, invention, food and fun.”)
The emphasis on Annie’s falls in line with the company’s announcement in March 2016 that it will double the organic acreage from which it sources ingredients to 250,000 acres by 2019. In a release discussing the announcement, John Church, executive vice president, supply chain, said: “To achieve the growth we anticipate for our natural and organic brands, we will need a more robust pipeline of organic growers. We’re building strategic relationships directly with farmers for our products and are dedicated to working with growers to optimize production and quality, adopt standard practices and accelerate supply.” The General Mills natural and organic product portfolio includes the snack and bakery brands Cascadian Farm, LÄRABAR, Food Should Taste Good, Immaculate Baking and Annie’s.
General Mills also sold off its bakery business in Argentina to Grupo Bimbo in 2016, and its Venezuela business to Lengfeld Inc. a Venezuela-based investment group. Sean Walker, president, General Mills Latin America, cited a “need to prioritize other growth opportunities within our Latin American portfolio” as a reason for the divesture.
Early 2017 brought a flurry of new product innovation, including: