General Mills Testing MillsChat Generative AI Internal Assistant

General Mills is piloting an internal generative AI app, known as MillsChat, designed to boost innovation and foster collaboration among employees. 

In a LinkedIn post, General Mills’ chief digital and technology officer, Jaime Montemayor, outlined a visit with the developers testing the tool at a General Mills’ center. Montemayor said that the MillsChat tool is designed to help “employees foster creativity” and discover “newfound efficiencies that come from having an AI assistant.” 

According to Montemayor’s statement, the tool is also intended to streamline workflows, enhance collaboration, and boost innovation across various departments. While it remains to be seen exactly how the company will put MillsChat to use, General Mills’ leadership has expressed interest in applying generative AI for practical use cases as a cost and time-saving tool. 

Talking at CES last month, Doug Martin, chief brand and disruptive growth officer of General Mills outlined this approach: We’re focused on how do we leverage [AI] to improve some cost efficiencies, including some unsexy things? Like we literally have 6,000 different images of boats in a vast digital content library. … How do we leverage tools that enable our people to find the things we have right now so we can skip some time, skip some expense, and get to invest in maybe a different partnership.” 

General Mills was one of the earlier adopters of AI-driven assistants. Last year, Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW) – the company’s joint venture with Nestle – announced plans to tap OpenAI’s GPT-4 language model for consumer goods business intelligence discovery. Leveraging AnswerRocket’s Max assistant, the two CG giants hoped to enhance access to insights from their own data at their over 50 brands. 

Broader AI Adoption 

Other brands and retailers have been swift to adopt generative AI chatbots and co-pilots, both for external and internal use. Last week, Amazon announced it would be rolling out a new artificial intelligence assistant for shopping called Rufus.

Last year, meat company Johnsonville implemented a knowledge assistant platform to help associates access insights across the enterprise, while Kraft Heinz says it is building an internal generative AI app, known as KraftGPT, for employees to obtain quick insights into things like product sales.

On the consumer-facing side, Walmart rolled out a similar search technology at CES in January, allowing iOS users to search by specific use cases.