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Changes planned for Pillsbury Bake-Off

Published Sep. 1, 2005

The Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest and its coveted $1-million grand prize will be back, but organizers say that the 41st event will undergo a few changes, including a new schedule, a broader range of eligible products and a new roster of sponsors.

The $1-million grand prize will be awarded during the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest finals June 26-29, 2004, at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel in Hollywood, Calif. This timing is a change from past events when the contest was held in February.

The 41st contest will be sponsored by General Mills, General Electric, the American Dairy Association and Multifoods, who are collaborating to create a contemporary contest featuring new categories and a list of qualifying products that will reflect a full range of ingredients for creative cooks to use.

"Americans love the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest. In fact, four out of every five people are aware of the event, and many have either served or tasted a contest recipe themselves," said Kris Burns, Bake-Off promotion manager at General Mills. "All the sponsors are thrilled to continue the tradition of recognizing home cooks and sharing their creative meal ideas with families across the country. In addition to the $1-million grand prize, there will be other cash and sponsored prizes, such as GE appliances to recognize innovation and awards from the American Dairy Association to honor the best recipes made with cheese."

Burns and a team of General Mills employees from the promotion marketing, public relations and sales disciplines began evaluating the Bake-Off Contest as the 40th event concluded in February 2002, which was just a few months after the October 2001 acquisition of Pillsbury by General Mills. Consumer research provided more insight into the contest's enduring popularity and strong consumer appeal. As planning began for the next contest, organizers opted to change the schedule to better fit within the sponsors' overall promotional calendars.

"Change is nothing new for this venerable event. As consumer lifestyles and cooking patterns have evolved since the Bake-Off Contest was established in 1949, the contest has also changed to reflect the kinds of meal ideas that consumers know will please their family and friends today," Burns added. "This slight schedule change, in addition to the new sponsors and broad lineup of participating brands, will enable us to make the event even more exciting and relevant to our customers, partners and home cooks across the country."

Starting this December, consumers will find entry information on a special Bake-Off section of the Web site. Entry deadline for the contest will be in March 2004.

"While specific entry details aren't available for a few months, we wanted to make sure consumers knew that we're working hard planning the Bake-Off event, and it's going to be better than ever," Burns said.

America's most prestigious cooking contest, the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest originated in 1949. For each competition, 100 original recipes are selected from tens of thousands of entries, and the finalists who submitted them win an expense-paid trip to the contest finals to prepare their recipes for judging by a panel of food experts. The grand prize of $1-million has been awarded since 1996. The last Bake-Off was held in February 2002, in Orlando.

General Mills' includes some of the nation's most popular brands, including Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Betty Crocker, Cheerios, Wheaties and other Big G cereal brands, Colombo, Yoplait, Totino's and Progresso.

International Multifoods brands include Pillsbury baking mixes; Hungry Jack pancake mixes, syrup and potatoes; Martha White baking products; Robin Hood flour and baking mixes; and Bick's pickles and condiments in Canada.