How does the brand remain a household name for a century?
Betty Crocker has a simple recipe: keep changing.
In October, the icon turned a hundred years old and has now concluded its hundredth baking season. General Mills, the company that owns its shape, intends to maintain its relevance for another century by embracing more diverse chefs and bakers and finding new ways to reach them in their kitchens.
“Betty Crocker remains relevant as she adapts her product lines to changing political, social and economic currents,” culinary anthropologist Pauline Adema writes in Encyclopedia of American Icons. “Her persistence in the American imagination—and in our kitchens—attests to her timelessness as an icon embedded in the company and the local.”
In 1921, Petty’s signature began to appear on letters replying to home bakers for kitchen advice.
She then participated in radio shows, cookbooks, cake mixes, and her own website.
In 2021, thousands of Instagram posts were tagged with #CallMeBettyCrocker featuring lighter baked goods.
“My home has been associated with such pride and achievement in the kitchen,” said Maria Jaramillo, director of the Meals and Baking business unit at General Mills, which includes Betty Crocker. “How can we make sure that future generations have that knowledge of how to bake, how to cook, so that it is truly inclusive of all?”
Marketing food to the widest possible audience, as Betty Crocker does, said Doug Jeske, president of Meyocks, a marketing and marketing agency, is becoming increasingly difficult amid the “commodification” of many popular products.