General Mills received approval from the Iowa Economic Development Authority on August 21, 2020 for a $37M expansion project at their Cedar Rapids facility. This project will improve “existing production flows while investing in new and more efficient equipment, modifications to existing walls to house conveyors, piping ductwork, electrical upgrades, and roof penetrations for structural support,” according to the company’s project report. The company will also covert 50 temporary positions to full time employees. The standard state economic development contract requires companies to make capital investment and hire the full-time employees within 36 months as well as maintain capital investment and new jobs for an additional 24 months. This would obligate General Mills through 2025 for the project.
In April of 2020, the Economic Alliance began working with a General Mills’ New Jersey based consultant, an agency that represents several Iowa companies, with which the Alliance has a long-standing relationship. Companies have many options when choosing where to make capital investment and create jobs. Continued growth and investment in Cedar Rapids and the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids region is especially important at this time given the global pandemic, the state of the economy and the derecho that hit Eastern Iowa on August 10, 2020.
General Mills has been “making food the world loves for more than 150 years.” The company makes many leading consumer food brands including Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Annie’s and many more. General Mills “produces and markets more than 100 consumer brands in more than 100 countries” including fruit snacks, frosting, and cereal from its facility in Cedar Rapids. It has been widely reported that demand for General Mills products has increased dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in early March. In July, the company reported that sales of their products were up 16% over the same quarter last year.
The last major plant expansion for General Mills in Cedar Rapids came in 2014 when the company added 41 jobs and invested $60M in converting warehouse space to food grade manufacturing space. This included building enclosures, footings, and floor enhancements for food manufacturing equipment.
The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance serves as the primary contact for businesses interested in expanding or relocating to the Cedar Rapids metro area by providing site location assistance, state and local financial incentive assistance, workforce development, demographics and trade figures as well as specialized activities designed to respond to each project.