Showing posts with label General Mills. Show all posts
Showing posts with label General Mills. Show all posts

Aug 30, 2013

Cheery Oats

Cereal companies had wheat, corn, and rice, but none had a cereal with an oat base until 1941. CheeriOats were introduced as a “ready-to-eat” oat cereal. The name emphasized the main ingredient to differentiate itself from the other types of cereals.

Unfortunately for CheeriOats, Quaker Oats took offense to the name, claiming the “Oats” part infringed on their trademark. To avoid a potential lawsuit, the name was changed to Cheerios in 1945. It had a mascot named Cheeri O'Leary, but that was quickly dropped. In 1949, the Lone Ranger radio show needed a sponsor. General Mills obliged and the association with the Lone Ranger lasted for 20 years and helped propel Cheerios into the most popular breakfast cereal.

The shape inspired the updated name. The “O” shape was made by a specially designed “puffing gun”. Cheerio dough is heated and rapidly and shot out of this gun, which makes the dough puff into the “O” shape.

By 1951 Cheerios was the top-selling cold cereal sold by General Mills. Cheerios continues to dominate the cereal market with about one eighth of all cereal sales in the United States. It is sold in over 130 countries. Other varieties of Cheerios introduced over the years include honey nut, apple cinnamon, multi-grain, berry burst, fruity, banana nut, chocolate, and frosted.

Feb 28, 2012

What's in a Name Bisquick

Bisquick mix was reportedly invented in 1930 by a General Mills executive who, while on a journey by train, complimented the chef in the dining car on his fresh biscuits. The chef showed him how he pre-mixed shortening with the dry ingredients of flour, salt and baking powder and kept the mixture on ice in the train kitchen so he could prepare the biscuits very quickly.

When they mass-marketed the idea, General Mills replaced the shortening with hydrogenated oil so that the product wouldn't need to be refrigerated. At first they marketed it solely as a fast way to make biscuits, but soon, in an effort to increase sales, they started suggesting that consumers use it to make a variety of other foods, including pizza dough, pancakes, dumplings, cookies, and pies.

Apr 27, 2010

Food From the Fifties

This was a decade of food invention.

Sugar Smacks (Kellogg's)
Cheeze Whiz (Kraft)
TV Dinners (Swanson)
Pepperidge Farm butter cookies
Star-Kist canned tuna
Eggo Frozen Waffles

Trix (General Mills)
Butterball Turkeys (Swift-Eckrich)
Stouffer's frozen meals (Stouffer)
Nonfat dry milk (Carnation)
Burger King fast food chain
Shakey's Pizza fast food chain
Peanut M&Ms (Hershey's)
Marshmallow Peeps - do people really eat these?

Special K breakfast food (Kellogg's)
Pepperidge Farm cookies
Kentucky Fried Chicken (Colonel Sanders)

Imperial margarine (Lever Brothers)
Certs breath mints

Pam nonstick cooking spray
Refrigerated cookie dough (Pillsbury)

Tang (it went to the moon)
Ruffles potato chips
Sweet 'n Low sugarless sweetener
Cocoa Puffs (General Mills)
Jif peanut butter
Chicken Ramen noodles
Instant Tea (Lipton)
Pizza Hut
International House of Pancakes

Dec 18, 2009

Aunt Jemima

Chris L. Rutt of St. Joseph, Missouri and his friend Charles G. Underwood bought a flour mill in 1888. Rutt and Underwood's Pearl Milling Company faced a glutted flour market, so they sold their excess flour as a ready-made pancake mix in brown paper sacks without a trade name. In 1889, Rutt attended a vaudeville show where he heard a catchy tune called "Aunt Jemima" sung by a blackface performer who was wearing an apron and bandanna headband. He decided to call their pancake flour "Aunt Jemima."

In 1890,  R.T. Davis purchased the struggling company. He then brought the Aunt Jemima character to life when he hired Nancy Green as his spokeswoman. The image of Aunt Jemima was so popular that the company was renamed the Aunt Jemima Mills Company.

On November 17, 1834, Nancy Green was born. She was a Black storyteller and one of the first black corporate models in the United States. The world knew her as "Aunt Jemima." The Aunt Jemima character was prominent in minstrel shows in the late 19th century, and was later adopted by commercial interests to represent the Aunt Jemima brand.

In 1893, the Davis Milling Company aggressively began an all-out promotion of "Aunt Jemima" at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Green, as "Aunt Jemima," demonstrated the pancake mix and served thousands of pancakes. Green was a hit, friendly, a good storyteller, and a good cook. Her warm and appealing personality made her the ideal "Aunt Jemima," a living trademark. Her exhibition booth drew so many people that special policemen were assigned to keep the crowds moving. The company received over 50,000 orders, and Fair officials awarded Nancy Green a medal and certificate for her showmanship.

She was proclaimed "Pancake Queen." She was signed to a lifetime contract and traveled on promotional tours all over the country. Flour sales were up all year and pancakes were no longer considered exclusively for breakfast. Nancy Green maintained this job until a car crash in Chicago killed her on September 23, 1923.

In 1925, Quaker Oats purchased the Aunt Jemima Mills Company. Anna (Robinson) Harrington was discovered by the Quaker Oats Company and she played the part 14 years.

During the 14 years Mrs. Harrington worked as Aunt Jemima, she made enough money to provide for her children and to buy a 22-room house with a bungalow behind it. She rented rooms to boarders.

The Aunt Jemima image has been modified several times over the years. In her most recent 1989 make-over, as she reached her 100th anniversary, the 1968 image was updated, with her kerchief removed to reveal a natural hairdo and pearl earrings. This new look remains with the products to this day.

Oct 9, 2009

Green Checkmark

You will soon see them on food and cereal boxes in your local supermarket and in future commercials touting that these green checkmarks are designed to "to help shoppers easily identify smarter food and beverage choices.”

It is part of a new 'Smart Choices campaign' and the types of foods that have been approved are Fruit Loops and Cocoa Krispies.

Ten companies have signed up for the Smart Choices program including Kellogg’s, Kraft Foods, ConAgra Foods, Unilever, General Mills, PepsiCo and Tyson Foods. Companies that participate pay up to $100,000 a year to the program, with the fee based on total sales of its products that bear the seal.

Members of these companies have people on the Smart Choices board. Hmmm! Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, was part of a panel that helped devise the Smart Choices nutritional criteria, until he quit last September. He said the panel was dominated by members of the food industry, which skewed its decisions.

So we have an industry creating a self-serving ranking system, with a Board of their own members to make decisions, for companies who all stand to gain a big profit from this. Sounds like green checks are the new green stamps, but with no value.