Annie WitheyAndrew Martin
|Products||Macaroni and cheese, salad dressing, crackers, fruit snacks, snack mix, frozen pizza, pretzels, graham crackers, barbecue sauce, mustard, ketchup|
Annie's Homegrown is a Berkeley, California-based maker of "natural" and organic pastas, meals and snacks owned by General Mills. The company was founded in Hampton, Connecticut by Annie Withey and Andrew Martin, who previously founded Smartfood popcorn along with Ken Meyers. It is perhaps best known for its macaroni and cheese product line, which comes in shell form and bunny rabbit shapes, and is the second best selling macaroni and cheese in the United States. Their mascot is a rabbit named Bernie, who appears in the seal of approval called the "Rabbit of Approval". The company also produces Annie's Naturals, which consists of condiments, dressings, and barbecue sauces. In January 2012, Annie's introduced a line of certified organic rising crust frozen pizzas.
Annie Withey co-founded Annie's Homegrown with Andrew Martin in 1989. Initially, the company only sold "natural" macaroni and cheese, in New England supermarkets.
In 1995, Annie's completed a direct public offering that raised $1.3 million.
In 1999, John Foraker, an owner of Homegrown Natural Foods, which made flavored olive oils and mustards, and his company invested $2 million in Annie's. An agreement was reached that would buy out Withey and Martin's shares in the company and make Annie's a private company. Withey became Annie's "inspirational president", and the company began distributing its products to chains like Costco, Kroger, and Safeway.
In 2002, Solera Capital became the majority investor in the company with $23 million. They also added Foraker's company Homegrown Naturals (including brands Consorzio and Fantastic Foods) to the business, and moved Annie's headquarters from Boston to Napa, California in 2004. Later in 2011, Annie's headquarters relocated from Napa to Berkeley, California.
In 2005, the company bought out Annie's Naturals, a (sometimes) organic salad dressing and condiment company founded by Annie Christopher of North Calais, Vermont.
In January 2012, Annie's announced the introduction of a certified organic rising crust frozen pizza line, the first of its kind. Annie's certified organic pizza line is exclusive to Whole Foods Market.
Becoming a publicly traded company
General Mills bought Annie's on 8 September 2014 for $820 million.
Food quality problems
On January 22, 2013, the company initiated a voluntary recall of Annie's Homegrown Frozen Pizza due to the possible presence of fragments of flexible metal mesh caused by a faulty screen at a third-party flour mill. Annie's initiated its voluntary recall as a precaution because the pieces of the fine wire were too small to be detected by the comprehensive metal control programs in place. On February 4, 2013, Annie's announced that its Rising Crust Frozen Pizzas would begin shipping again to stores nationwide on February 11, 2013.
- "Annie's Homegrown, Inc". fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 2009-04-13.
- "Annie's Founder: Still Farming, Annie's Founder Stays Close To Roots As Company Wows Wall Street - Hartford Courant". Articles.courant.com. 2012-07-25. Retrieved 2014-03-23.
- Casserly, Meghan (October 28, 2013). "The Homegrown Success (And Mild Indigestion) Of Annie's Natural Foods". Forbes.
- Kennedynews@joplinglobe.com, Wally. "Annie's Homegrown lauds addition of Joplin bakery". Joplin Globe. Retrieved 2018-01-30.
- "Annie's Announces Filing of Registration Statement for Proposed Initial Public Offering". Annie's. 5 December 2011. Archived from the original on January 9, 2012.
- General Mills buys Annie's for $820 million
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-10-24.
- "Annie's Voluntarily Recalls Annie's Homegrown Frozen Pizza Products". Fda.gov. Retrieved 2014-03-23.
- "Press Release - Annie's Homegrown". Investors.annies.com. Archived from the original on 2013-04-07. Retrieved 2014-03-23.