General Mills reaches ‘transition point’ with digitization investments ready to pay off

“We are at a transition point in our journey and unleashing our scale for differentiated performance through digital capability. Having spent recent years investing to build a best-in-class digital infrastructure … I am very encouraged by our progress, and I am confident that our digital capabilities will be a source of meaningful competitive advantage for General Mills over the long term,” Harmening said.

He explained that since 2018, General Mills’ team of data scientists has increased 40-fold so that it can now run more than 6 million models a month that generate more than 500 million individual predictions monthly, compared to running just 2,000 models per month six years ago.

This investment has helped the company “unlock opportunities” in e-commerce, data-driven marketing and supply chain digitization, he added.

E-commerce growth outpaces market thanks to optimizing search, content & reviews

Within ecommerce, Harmening said, General Mills has invested in optimizing search, content and reviews to boost awareness and encourage trial – a strategy that has helped its e-commerce business grow from 4% of US retail sales pre-pandemic to the mid-teens today, excluding pet food.

“Our market shares online continue to outpace our shares in brick-and-mortar outlets and with a disproportionate amount of food industry growth projected to come from e-commerce over the next five years, we are well positioned to capture outsized growth in this important consumer space,” he said.

The company also has invested in first-party platforms, including bettycrocker.com, Pillsbury.com, Good Rewards and Box Tops for Education, which allow it to engage directly with consumers and deepen personalized connections.