General Mills Ventures - LÄRABAR
"Creating and developing a successful brand is a lot like raising a child. From its infancy to young adulthood, LÄRABAR has taken center stage in my hopes, dreams and daily efforts, literally evolving into an extension of me. It's my name, after all, on the product.
So when industry interest in acquiring LÄRABAR first started to mount, I was far less motivated to sell off my baby, and more keen on partnering with a company who 'got it” … who not only grasped what makes LÄRABAR special, but also understood the non-negotiable importance of preserving the integrity of the brand.
General Mills impressed me above all other potential partners. Not because of its immense market presence. Not because of its long history in the food business. Not even because of its commitment to making its existing brands healthier. The attribute that stood out most to me was its people. Really good people.
Goodness, in fact, that resonates interpersonally from the executive levels to the headquarters gift shop. General Mills, as big as it is, has cultivated a working environment that feels like a caring family business—no small achievement in this day and age where the intentions of corporations are often viewed suspiciously."
I'm so proud to report that the partnership of LÄRABAR and General Mills, from the point of its inception in 2008, has turned out even better than I had imagined. What we had been doing well General Mills left in place, and what needed improvement has been honed with tremendous and thoughtfully integrated expertise, amplifying profitability and fueling LARABAR's continuing meteoric growth.
All this without disruptively shaking the LÄRABAR tree. Our products are still manufactured using the same recipes, the same quality ingredients, in the same facility; and marketed by the principal staff that I put together, from the same office in Denver, Colorado, where it all began.
I'm often asked by owners of emerging brands about the pros and cons of partnering with a large company like General Mills. For me, there's only an up side, especially when you find the right partner who can help answer the pivotal question: How do you want your brand, your baby, to grow up?
My mission with LÄRABAR has always been to make something simple, pure and delicious and put it in the hands of as many people as possible. Not just the natural-foods crowd, but everyone and anyone with an interest in eating better, feeling better, being better—an honest consumer-first mentality that General Mills has delivered on in an epic scale that I could have never mustered alone."
– Lara Merriken, founder of LÄRABAR