The Two Familiar Brands Pillsbury Once Owned

It's no secret that Pillsbury is one of the most popular baked brands around. From delivering tasty biscuits to rolling out decadent cinnamon rolls, the brand — which its official website notes as starting off in 1869 — has long been a favorite around the dinner tables of Americans. Inventing the technology for the "pop" that Pillsbury cans include when opening, earning a Guinness World Record, and introducing classic crescent rolls, there's no denying the impact that Pillsbury has made on both the food industry and the hearts of dough lovers everywhere.

While the Pillsbury brand saw a huge amount of success from the time it debuted and even more after the reveal of the Pillsbury Doughboy in the mid-1960s, according to Britannica, it was acquired by General Mills in 2001. After 15 months of negotiating, General Mills — which was the longtime rival company — purchased Pillsbury for $5.9 billion, according to CNN Money. Before it found a home within the General Mills brand, however, Pillsbury was the one doing the acquiring. In fact, the popular dough brand actually owned two very popular food brands that are still around today.

Both Burger King and Häagen-Dazs were once owned by Pillsbury

Though Burger King is now under Restaurants Brands International (via Restaurant Business), there was a time shortly after their 1954 launch that they were owned by Pillsbury. According to ABC News, 13 years after Burger King opened its first set of doors in Miami, the Pillsbury Company purchased the brand for $18 million. During this period, Burger King had almost 300 restaurants that were open and operating around the world. Ownership of the burger purveyor ended in 1989 due to Pillsbury being acquired by Grand Metropolitan PLC and, in turn, gave them ownership of Burger King, too. While the Burger King brand has gone through a few different owners since its inception, it found its home with Restaurant Brands International in 2014 (per Britannica).

Similar to its acquisition of Burger King in the late 1960s, Pillsbury saw the growing success of the family-owned ice cream chain Häagen-Dazs and sought ownership. Unlike BK, though, The New York Times notes in a June 1983 article that the price paid for ownership was undisclosed. At the time of the acquisition, then-Pillsbury chairman William H. Spoor said that Häagen-Dazs was a great choice for the brand because it "had the elements that Pillsbury was looking for, including a franchise network of 244 ice cream stores, strong supermarket presence and corporate growth of about 30 percent a year." Once Pillsbury became a part of the General Mills family in 2001, however, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal notes that it was sold to "Nestle for $641 million in cash."

Regardless of how each venture ended, one thing that can't be denied is Pillsbury's constant attempt (and success) at impacting the food industry.