Case | HBS Case Collection | December 2007 (Revised July 2008)

General Mills (A)

by Raymond V. Gilmartin, Marco Iansiti and Bianca Buccitelli

Abstract

General Mills is an 80-year-old company that specializes in consumer foods such as cereal, snacks, baking, and dinner products. Although General Mills is, on the whole, a very successful company, they have, in the recent past, had to face challenges as a result the changing environment in the food manufacturing industry. Three main factors have affected this industry including: (1) the rise of Wal-Mart and the resulting shift of pricing power from the manufacturer to the retailer, (2) the infiltration of more private-label products into the market, and (3) the rise in commodity costs as a result of inflation (for example, the Producer Price Index (PPI) which tracks the inflation/deflation for raw materials used by food manufacturers increased by 5.9% from April 2003 to April 2004).

Keywords: Competitive Strategy; Change Management; Cost Management; Problems and Challenges; Inflation and Deflation; Price; Consumer Products Industry; Manufacturing Industry;

Citation:

Gilmartin, Raymond V., Marco Iansiti, and Bianca Buccitelli. "General Mills (A)." Harvard Business School Case 608-004, December 2007. (Revised July 2008.)