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Americas: General Mills’ unit to incubate brands

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General Mills’ 301 INC, the new business development and venturing unit, announces a strategy focused on building partnerships with emerging food brands to create breakthrough innovation in the food space.

Through 301 INC, entrepreneurs and early stage food companies will have access to capital, knowledge and expertise of General Mills to develop, grow and expand their businesses.

“The rapidly evolving consumer landscape is dramatically changing the game in the food industry,” said John Haugen, VP and GM of 301 INC.

“Tremendous opportunity exists outside of General Mills to partner with and foster emerging food brands.”

“Through these partnerships we will help entrepreneurs scale their vision by providing them with a combination of capital and the capabilities that General Mills has built over the past 150 years in the food industry,” he says.

The company is seeking businesses that have demonstrated early success in the marketplace, have a remarkable product offering and a strong, expandable brand.

Originally cast as a new business development team by General Mills in 2012, 301 INC was charged with developing and launching new business models to generate growth for General Mills.

This team worked as entrepreneurs within the walls of General Mills, bringing to market disruptive products including Progresso and Nature Valley Bistro Cups, the first food products made with a cup coffee brewer, Pillsbury Pancake Batter, a novel innovation that put pancakes in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, and nibblr, a customizable subscription-based snack delivery service.

“Under our previous model, we were primarily building our own businesses from the ground up,” said Haugen.

“That experience was invaluable and has given us significant insights into the challenges small, emerging businesses face in the marketplace.”

“It has helped us to more clearly define the role 301 INC can play moving forward. We believe we can meet consumer needs faster than ever by combining the vision and passion of entrepreneurs with General Mills extensive capabilities.”