Eleven percent of General Mills’ net sales are sold online, up from 4% in fiscal 2019, and it’s investing in proprietary data technology and analytics capabilities in order to improve content, reach, engagement, and retention. Among its first-party data initiatives:
The digitized Box Tops for Education program now includes all General Mills brands.
The Buddies by Blue Buffalo mobile app platform enables the company to create personalized consumer connections through rewards and content across both digital and physical retail.
The Haagen-Dazs mobile app in China integrates with its physical retail stores.
And these adjustments persist: In addition to recently realigning the U.S. convenience store business into its North America retail segment to more effectively leverage its scale, the Minneapolis-headquartered company is consolidating its Asia, Latin America, Europe, and Australia segments into a single reporting unit, a change that will be reflected in its next fiscal quarter. Its structure is now comprised of four segments: North American retail, North American foodservice, international, and pet.
General Mills is increasingly using predictive analytics in its innovation process, as well as rapid in-market experimentation to test, learn, and develop products across CPG categories.
McNabb leads the company’s strategy and growth division, which is dedicated to executing Accelerate, and includes M&A functions, consumer insights, and strategic revenue management.
Her group has also formed a new team to focus on bridging the gap between core innovation and the company’s acquisitions, composed of General Mills’ internal venture studio (G Works) and its external venture capital arm (301Inc).
As part of this, G Works launched Bold Cultr, a cheese alternative line made with proteins created through precision fermentation. 301Inc, meanwhile, identified Black Americans as the largest and fastest-growing vegan demographic in the country, at nearly 8%, and has invested in plant-based meat company known as Everything Legendary that targets the Black community.
Both of these decisions build off the three opportunities General Mills has identified for future growth: climate change’s impact on food, increasing consumer personalization, and technology-enabled convenience.
“Even as many of our competitors pulled back on their new product plans, we continued to innovate,” noted McNabb. “In fact, in the U.S. in fiscal ’22, our sales from innovation continue to outpace our categories by almost a point. This success has been driven in part by changes we made to our innovation process.”