Daily Israel Report

General Mills Cooking Up Foothold in Israel

American food giant General Mills is looking for a foothold in the Holy Land, similar to other US-Israel partnerships.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 7/11/2010, 1:36 PM / Last Update: 7/11/2010, 1:42 PM

American food giant General Mills is seeking a stronger foothold in the Holy Land, similar to that enjoyed by other U.S. multi-national corporations such as Pepsico and Nestle. A delegation from the Fortune 500 company, one of the world's largest food producers, recently paid a visit to Israel's Food Industries Association “looking for possible future cooperation.”

However, an Israel food industry source said that General Mills may be planning to “copy Nestle,” which has for years maintained a strong and diverse presence in the Middle East. At present, General Mills sells its cereals in a joint venture under the Nestle brand, which has regional corporate headquarters based in the United Arab Emirates but which also markets products in Israel.

General Mills, with some $25 billion in sales, owns many cereal brands – such as Cheerios and Fiber One -- as well as Yoplait yogurts, Pillsbury, Nature Valley granola bars and Haagen Dazs ice cream. The company maintains an Israeli corporate office in Holon.

Kosher food in general is zooming ahead in the marketplace, with some 300 new products taking their places among the thousands of others on U.S. distributors' lists in the last six months alone.

Retailers are faced with the increasingly difficult dilemma of trying to decide which product wins the coveted shelf space, pointed out Kosher Today. “The problem is compounded by the fact that most existing products have a stable customer base,” noted the publication late last week.