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Alternatives and Recommendations. What course of action do you

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(3) Alternatives and Recommendations. What course of action do you suggest? Be specific. How does your solution follow from your problem analysis? How will your plan eliminate the problem? How will it be implemented? Include an action plan. How much will your plan cost? Is it feasible? How will it be financed? What are the risks of your plan? What can go wrong? Include a risk analysis. How will other interested parties (competitors, unions, employees, governments, suppliers, etc.) react to your plan?;PAPER;GENERAL MILLS;The story of General Mills starts with only two flour mills in the 1860?s, yet they were able to revolutionize the milling industry, through manufacturing flour with better baking qualities. By the 1960?s, General Mills was involved in marketing kid?s products including, Easy Bake Ovens, Monopoly, Spiro graphs, and Nerf balls. This diversification allowed General Mills to appeal to a broader customer base. Presently, their primary focus is food production, which also is their core competency.;General Mills is one of the largest food producing companies in the world, and also competes in the following areas where they have achieved the greatest success.;? U.S. Retail services;? International business;? Bakeries & Foodservice across the world;? Joint Ventures also influence General Mills profitability;In fiscal year 2010, net sales for General Mills were $16 billion at a global level, which includes a proportionate share of its joint venture net sales. With this information, we can estimate the continuing success of General Mills business around the world.;General Mills strives to nourish lives around the clock with a great number of diversified brands that are well known for their quality. They started from one brand and now they have reached to a peak point into business diversification. The company is mostly associated with food producing brands and apart of this they are associated with a variety of product and service lines. The main product lines being produced by the General Mills worldwide include the following;? Baking Products;? Cereals;? Fruit;? Ice Cream;? Pasta;? Pizza;? Soup;? Vegetables;? Yogurt;Today, General Mills is the top U.S. breakfast cereal maker, and has an impressive financial record. In 2010 alone, the revenues totaled almost $14.8 billion. Investors are pretty happy with the current price earnings ratio of $14.60. With $17.7 billion in total assets and $12.3 billion on liabilities, General Mills has a current ratio of 1.4. This past quarter of 2011 General Mills had a gross profit margin of 39.2%. Historically, judging from their annual 10-Ks from the last three years, their revenues are rising year over year. Their five year annual dividend growth rate is 9.14% and their five year annual revenue growth rate is 5.52%. Overall, General Mills has a good grasp on their financials and seem to be keeping their revenues growing year over year.;With General Mills competing with rival- Kellogg, the officers are a key component to the success of the company. In May 2011, General Mills was ranked #166 in FORTUNE 500 thanks in part to the leadership of the current chairman, President and CEO Mr. Kendall J. Powell. Most of the officers and directors within General Mills are aged fifty and above. It is important with such an influential role in the company to have many years of experience in the industry. The Board of Directors consists of thirteen members, a good amount considering the size of the company. Within the company, General Mills puts a lot of emphasis on corporate social responsibility and demonstrates the values of the core leadership. Without good leadership, General Mills would not be the successful organization they have grown into.;General Mills competes against many companies across different industries including cereal, yogurt, ice cream, vegetables, and grain snacks. Some of the more well known competitors include Ben & Jerry?s, Blue Bell, Del Monte Foods, Dairy Queen, and Proctor & Gamble. Of the forty-four competitors listed by ?Hoovers, A D&B Company,? General Mills faces the stiffest competition from Danone and Kellogg?s. The company competes with Kellogg?s year after year for the #1 breakfast cereal maker in the United States. General Mills also owns a controlling stake in France?s ?Yoplait? brand which is worth about $1.15 billion (second largest yogurt company worldwide) and competes head to head with Danone for yogurt sales across the globe.;In order to continue successful growth over its history, General Mills has relied heavily on technology. One of the companies? better known brands, Betty Crocker, started an over the radio cooking school in 1924. This radio show has since turned into an online cooking school with how-to videos, as well as e-newsletters. Another huge step in technology for the company was the Betty Crocker Ipad app which was in the top 25 free downloads for the first two weeks after the Ipad launch. Betty Crocker, along with another well known company, Pillsbury offer many revealing recipes, tips, videos as well as other informative articles free of charge on the internet. These two websites welcomed well over 100 million World Wide Web visits in 2010 alone. Both of these companies are also actively using Facebook for exposure with the companies nearing 1 million ?likes? each on the popular social networking site.;General Mills reported over $15 billion in net sales for the 2009 fiscal year, where almost 70 percent of the sales are within the U.S. Retail product segment. The international business is growing every year and most recently generated $2.7 billion in sales from more than 100 global markets. According to the General Mills website, ?the company is also a leading supplier to the foodservice and commercial baking industries, generating $1.8 billion in sales for food eaten away from home.? General Mills also partners with ?Cereal Partners Worldwide? in an international cereal venture alongside well-known Nestle and Big G brands. Another major joint venture is with Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream Company that operates ice cream cafes across Japan. With international success in so many industries, General Mills boasts holding either the No. 1 or No. 2 share positions in growing food categories around the world. The company has over 33,000 employees manufacturing in 15 countries that are responsible for over 100 consumer brands worldwide. General Mills is looking to close on a deal in 2011 with ?Pasta Master,? a large brand in Australia producing ready-to-cook pasta offerings.;After sales grew 11% in the first half of fiscal 2009, to $7.5 billion, General Mills went on a broadcast blitz for its cereal brands directly targeting the growing population of aging baby boomers (York, 2009). The marketing campaign resulted in hiked cereal sales and the company saw an opportunity to gain greater ground by going after the health conscious demographic.;General Mills mission statement proudly proclaims that ?Our mission at General Mills is Nourishing Lives ? making lives healthier, easier and richer.? (General Mills, 2011). Recent events have challenged the validity of this statement and portrayed it as simply lip service by a conglomerate bent on pursuing American economist Milton Friedman?s theory that the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits (Friedman, 1970).;In an unprecedented move the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a warning letter to General Mills on May 5th 2009 after reviewing the labeling of Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal. FDA?s review found serious violations of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the applicable regulations in Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations. The letter read in part that based on claims made on the product's label, the FDA had determined that Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug because the product is intended for use in the prevention, mitigation, and treatment of a disease. The FDA stated that since General Mills had in effect claimed their cereal was a drug they needed to apply for a new drug approval license (Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations, 2009).;A lawsuit filed against General Mills, accusing the food giant of making misleading health claims about the popular kid snack Fruit Roll-Ups further put the company in bad light regarding deceptive marketing practices. (Shifrell, 2010);Total Blueberry Pomegranate Cereal another General Mills product has come under fire recently for gross misrepresentation of its ingredients and labeling. The revelation that the ingredients contain no actual blueberries or pomegranates has led to the cereal being characterized as a ?total fraud? by investigative journalist Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, as part of a non-profit Food Investigations (Ranger, 2011).;Real blueberries offer a powerhouse of health-enhancing nutrition. They protect arteries, help lower blood pressure and provide an assortment of natural antioxidants to protect the eyes, brain and nervous system. General Mills purports that Total Blueberry Pomegranate Cereal is a highly nutritious cereal with the words ?100% nutrition,? ?Blueberry? and ?Pomegranate? appearing prominently on the front of the box, in a very large font size. The blueberry-like appearance of small bits in the cereal are accomplished through the use of artificial colors like Red #40 and Blue #2, combined with various oil sand sweeteners such as soybean oil and sugar (Ranger, 2011).;When consumers buy Total Blueberry Pomegranate Cereal, they fully expect it to contain at least some amount of real blueberries and pomegranates. For General Mills to use these words on the front of the box and then fail to deliver any actual blueberries or pomegranates in the product is extremely deceptive.

 

Paper#34500 | Written in 18-Jul-2015

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