The red spoon that changed Betty Crocker
A simple change is all it took to create Betty Crocker’s signature red spoon in 1954 – and it has been an icon for the brand ever since.
While Betty Crocker has been a fixture at General Mills since 1921, it wasn’t until 1953 that her signature was enclosed in a red oval frame.
Within months, however, the brand decided this logo wasn’t distinctive enough.
So General Mills sought a simple, powerful visual that would quickly communicate Betty Crocker’s ties to our products in many categories, including cake mixes, Gold Medal Flour and Bisquick.
New York-based public relations firm Lippincott & Margulies was enlisted to provide the makeover.
It was quickly determined that putting Betty’s image on the package wasn’t realistic. But the new symbol had to highlight the many descriptions of Betty: “kitchen helper,” “warm and friendly” and “reliable guide.”
Using the existing logo as a foundation, the Lippincott & Margulies team changed the oval into the bowl of a spoon, added a stem and handle, and tweaked the signature.
Voila! The Betty Crocker red spoon was born in May 1954.
A 1950s-era pamphlet “A Spoon Is Born,” published by Lippincott & Margulies, declared:
“The spoon and Betty Crocker become one, a kitchen helper, a symbol of good products and recipes, a friendly, homemaker’s guide … a familiar household implement she uses every day in mixing, cooking and eating.”
After more than 60 years, that red spoon is one of the most recognized logos in the U.S., and can be found on Betty Crocker products such as cake mixes, frostings, cookie mixes, meals, side dishes and fruit snacks. The red spoon made its first appearance on Gold Medal Flour, and a month later was added to Betty Crocker’s cake mix packaging. Bisquick followed later that year.
Editor’s note: In 2016, General Mills is celebrating its 150th anniversary. This story is part of a year-long series on “A Taste of General Mills” to highlight the people, products and projects that have contributed to the company’s legacy. Discover more about our past on GeneralMills.com and GeneralMillsHistory.com. If you have a question about our history, or would like to donate an item to the company archives, send our Archives team an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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