It’s hard to believe, but it’s been almost 30 years since toaster strudel first appeared on the market. These toaster pastries used to be found in the grocer’s freezer aisle exclusively because of the food manufacturing process, but today can be found on shelves and still frozen depending on personal preferences. Unlike similar products that have icing included already on the product, toaster strudel gives you an icing packet to put on your own.
Although you’ll find a number of different knock-off products on the market today, the original Toaster Strudel brand is owned by General Mills and is marketed under their Pillsbury brand. It was registered as a trademark in 1992 and is undergoing a brand revolution thanks to a new character promoting the product with a new catchphrase.
Gretchen Weiner’s Father Unfortunately Didn’t Invent Toaster Strudel
If you’ve ever seen the movie Mean Girls, then you know that the Weiner family fortune came from the invention of Toaster Strudel. In reality, however, it was the research and development team from the original Pillsbury Company that created the first Toaster Strudel. The first incarnation of the product only lasted 3 years on store shelves. A plant consolidation to help save money and protect the company meant the death of Toaster Strudel in 1988.
Just a year later, when the company was purchased, everyone wanted to bring back Toaster Strudel from the grave because it had a lot of potential. There was a full relaunch of the product in 1990 and was intended to be a breakfast food, but more marketing potential was found with this product as a snack. Other toaster pastries were introduced to compete, but this product from Pillsbury stands alone.
What Else Did Pillsbury Invent?
What built the Pillsbury Company from the ground up wasn’t anything innovative when it came to baked goods – at least initially. It was the fact that they were the first company to use steel rollers to process grain. They built five mills initially to accommodate the demand they were seeing and even funded development of local railroad so the grain they produced could be transported effectively. For some time these items were owned by a British organization, but the Pillsbury Company purchased them back in 1935 and began making flour on the shores of the Mississippi once again.
Most of the products that came from Pillsbury were commercially viable dough products that allowed for convenient baking at home. In 1950, there were just seven products associated with the Pillsbury Company. By the end of the decade, sales had been so strong that corporate acquisitions were able to include large restaurant chains and food brands like Green Giant.
Pillsbury was also responsible for the first solid foods that were able to be transported into space. Although it is part of the General Mills family now, their longtime rivals, the brand name has a healthy brand saturation throughout the grocery market and there’s a good chance that you’ve got at least one Pillsbury product in your home right now. That’s the most notable achievement of all.