Is Annie From Annie's Homegrown A Real Person?

If you strive to eat organic but sometimes tire of making every single dish from scratch, then you're likely familiar with the brand Annie's Homegrown. The brand's boxed mac and cheese comes in several varieties including aged cheddar, white cheddar, and vegan to provide tasty and organic alternatives to other store-bought options like blue box favorite Kraft. According to the company's website, Annie's was established in 1989 and started out only selling its now mega-popular boxed pasta. Over the years, it has branched out to manufacture certified organic salad dressings, condiments, pancake mixes, and more as listed on their products webpage.

If you've ever bought a box or a bottle of Annie's, then you probably remember the brand's iconic logo, a cute little illustrated bunny surrounded by a circle that reads, "Bunny of Approval." When thinking about the adorable logo, you may have also focused on the name of the brand and wondered: Who is Annie, anyway? Is she real or made up?

Ann Withey is as real as can be

Annie's Homegrown is not just a name. It indeed refers to a real person, company founder Annie Withey. According to Mental Floss, not only is Withey real, but her blockbuster Annie's Homegrown brand — which was sold to General Mills in 2014 for a whopping $820 million, per CNN Business — is actually her second major triumph in the world of prepared foods. Back in 1984, Withey founded Smartfood popcorn after tinkering around with the recipe on her home stove. Five years later, she sold the snack to Frito-Lay for a cool $15 million and revisited that powdered cheese coating, using it to launch her new brand's foundational mac and cheese.

Annie's Homegrown has been a behemoth ever since. By 2017, the brand's annual sales were approaching $400 million (via Food Navigator USA). Now that's a lot of mac and cheese! As for Withey? She formally parted ways with her brand after the sale to General Mills and now lives in Connecticut with horses, sheep, and other animals, according to The Counter. Sadly, Mental Floss reports that the inspiration for the company's logo, Withey's pet rabbit Bernie, passed away in the early '90s. His legacy lives on in the cupboards of countless American households.