Patents Represented by Attorney, Agent or Law Firm John A. O'Toole
  • Patent number: 8137729
    Abstract: A process of preparing a complexed fat composition in a continuous process is provided. The process comprises mixing a cyclodextrin with a solvent in an in-line mixing system at a temperature of from about 180 to about 200° F. (82.2 to about 93.3° C.), thereby solubilizing the cyclodextrin; mixing fat and the solubilized cyclodextrin in a static mixer mixing system at a temperature of from about 80 to about 120° F. (26.7 to about 48.9° C.) to form a fat/cyclodextrin composition comprising a fat/cyclodextrin complex; and cooling the fat/cyclodextrin composition in an in-line mixing system. The described continuous process is a very efficient manner of complexing fat with cyclodextrin, and provides compositions that exhibit excellent uniformity and homogeneity.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 14, 2006
    Date of Patent: March 20, 2012
    Assignee: General Mills, Inc.
    Inventors: Philip K. Zietlow, David W. Plank
  • Patent number: 8105642
    Abstract: Dried soft aerated confections and methods of their preparation are provided having a water activity of about 0.1 to 0.4 and a glass transition temperature of less than 20° C. The confections comprise sugars, a foaming and a structuring ingredient, preferably each gelatin, and about 5 to 15% softening agent. Preferred softening agents include glycerin, polyglycerols and mixtures thereof. The confections are aerated to densities of about 0.1 to 0.5 g/cc. The soft dried aerated confections are particularly suited for addition to children's Ready-To-Eat cereals in the form of pieces weighing about 0.1 to 2 g each. The dried confection pieces maintain their soft texture over time without causing moisture migration to the cereal.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 15, 2003
    Date of Patent: January 31, 2012
    Assignee: General Mills IP Holdings II, LLC
    Inventors: Justin Shimek, Andrew Peterson, Susan L. Kamper, James W. Geoffrion
  • Patent number: 8053010
    Abstract: Bran treatment methods are described, comprising acidifying bran with a acid to pH's ranging from 4-6 forming acidified bran and thereafter treating with low levels of ozone to oxidize native bitter constituent, ferulic acid, preferably to vanillin to provide better flavored bran. The treated bran is useful as an ingredient for use in products such as flour based food products such as flours, pastas, dry mixes, refrigerated uncooked doughs, pet foods, ready-to-eat cereals, breads, tortilla, and grain based snacks.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 4, 2001
    Date of Patent: November 8, 2011
    Assignee: General Mills, Inc.
    Inventors: Adelmo Monsalve-Gonzalez, Aruna Prakash
  • Patent number: 7983918
    Abstract: A device and method for assisting a human user in performing processes includes a speaker that provides audible instructions to the user corresponding to multiple tasks associated with performing the process. A storage device stores data corresponding to the audible instructions. A processor converts the stored data to the audible instructions, and an input device is adapted to enable the user to control the provision of the audible instructions.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 14, 2007
    Date of Patent: July 19, 2011
    Assignee: General Mills, Inc.
    Inventor: Chester T. Cizio
  • Patent number: 7976888
    Abstract: Dry milling methods for preparing oat products enriched in the content of ?-glucan and methods for preparing foodstuffs incorporating such an enriched oat product especially ready-to-eat cereals are provided. Heat conditioned dehulled oats are dry milled to form a coarse whole non defatted oat flour and then, without a preceding removal of fat, dry fractionated into coarser bran and finer oat flour fractions at multiple stages. The coarse oat flour is first dry classified to separate or form a coarser fraction oat bran containing more concentrated ?-glucan and a finer oat flour or starch containing or endosperm containing fraction. The oat bran is fractionated into a coarse and fine oat bran sub-streams. The oat bran sub-streams are each is subjected to second roller milling step and then bolted. The second bolting of oat bran is then subjected to a third round of milling and classification to form a high ?-glucan content (>7-9%) oat bran and a low ?-glucan content (3%) oat flour.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 21, 2007
    Date of Patent: July 12, 2011
    Assignee: General Mills IP Holdings II, LLC
    Inventors: John H. Hellweg, John D. McKeehen, Michael Dietsch
  • Patent number: 7959966
    Abstract: Fat-containing compositions comprise a fat component having less than 40% by weight of trans fat and a cyclodextrin, wherein at least about 25% of the cyclodextrin in the composition is bound to the fat. The fat compositions as provided herein can be substantially more viscous or harder than a like fat composition that does not contain cyclodextrin that is bound to the fat. Food products and methods of use of food products are described.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 28, 2010
    Date of Patent: June 14, 2011
    Assignee: General Mills, Inc.
    Inventors: David W. Plank, Michael A. Staeger
  • Patent number: 7959961
    Abstract: Disclosed are cooked dried farinaceous food products such as cooked cereal doughs, ready-to-eat cereals and grain based snacks fabricated from such cooked cereal doughs containing or fortified with rice bran oil supplied at least in part by non-hydrogenated rice bran oil especially high oryzanol rice bran oil. The cereals contain about 0.1 to 10% added rice bran oil. The rice bran oil ingredient can be incorporated into the dough and/or topically applied. The rice bran oil provides the processing advantages of oil addition during processing with low or now transfatty acids but with extended shelf stability. The finished fortified cereal products are not only organoleptically desirable but almost indistinguishable from their counterparts containing hydrogenated fats.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 3, 2006
    Date of Patent: June 14, 2011
    Assignee: General Mills IP Holdings II, LLC
    Inventors: Xia Liu, Monica Decastro
  • Patent number: 7922639
    Abstract: The present invention is, in one embodiment, an apparatus for placing an insert within a nested group of taco shells. The insert placement apparatus comprises a vertical shaft, a horizontal shaft, a first pillow block, a second pillow block, a vacuum cup, a horizontal timing belt, an air cylinder, and a servomotor. The vacuum cup is adapted to transport the insert. The first pillow block has a bore therethrough for receiving the horizontal shaft. The second pillow block is supported off of the first pillow block and has a bore therethrough for receiving the vertical shaft. The vacuum cup is suspended off of the vertical shaft. The horizontal belt is routed around a drive pulley and a second pulley and is interconnected to the first pillow block. The servomotor is interconnected to the drive pulley. The servomotor causes the timing belt to displace the first pillow block along the horizontal shaft, thereby causing the vacuum cup to displace horizontally.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 15, 2007
    Date of Patent: April 12, 2011
    Assignee: General Mills Cereals, LLC
    Inventors: Thomas G. Cremers, Craig Gustafson, Ralph Stenvik
  • Patent number: 7919134
    Abstract: A non-cooked cereal bar containing inulin and having a total nutrient level equal to or greater than the nutrient level of a single serving of RTE cereal with milk is described. In one embodiment, the cereal layer is comprised of a cereal composition containing RTE cereal, high-protein rice pieces and TVP in a ratio of about 2:1:1. In another embodiment, a method for manufacturing a non-cooked cereal bar containing inulin is described.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 18, 2008
    Date of Patent: April 5, 2011
    Assignee: General Mills, Inc.
    Inventors: Barrie R. Froseth, Dean F. Funk, Dena K. Strehlow
  • Patent number: 7882959
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for separating multiple food pieces and removing clumps from food pieces in order to process individual pieces for subsequent packaging includes a vibrating conveyor bed which receives a substantially continuous supply of a dried product, such as RTE cereal or another snack product, and delivers the dried product to a screen unit including a plurality of spaced slots through which only individual food pieces can pass for further processing. Prior to the screen unit, the bed can be provided with an upstanding deflector member which diverts the traveling food product away from a discharge chute and onto the screen unit. In any case, the screen unit includes an upwardly angling portion, extending away from the discharge chute, for retaining product which needs to be further processed, while the discharge chute also has an associated, raised lip for product retention purposes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 6, 2009
    Date of Patent: February 8, 2011
    Assignee: General Mills IP Holdings II, LLC
    Inventor: Elliot Augst
  • Patent number: 7790210
    Abstract: Composite food products comprising a first soft plastic nonfrangible major portion having a water activity of 0.5 or less and about 1% to 15% % of a second food portion of small direct expanded puffed particulates fabricated from a cooked cereal dough. The puffed pieces are formed by direct puffing or expansion into individual pieces rather than by grinding or size reducing larger cereal pieces. The puffed cereal particulates thus have a continuous unbroken skin or surface surrounding the particulates as a result of the direct expansion formation. The particulates have a size ranging from about 0.5 to 2 mm, a moisture content of less than 6%, and, a bulk density ranging from about 0.15 to 0.25 g/cc. The cooked cereal dough from which the particulates are fabricated comprises at least 45% rice flour. The products exhibit a crispy texture notwithstanding the softer texture of the major phase.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 3, 2007
    Date of Patent: September 7, 2010
    Assignee: General Mills, Inc.
    Inventor: Dean F. Funk
  • Patent number: 7763298
    Abstract: A packaged food article, comprising a package maintaining at least a partial vacuum and having at least a portion being flexible; and at least one food piece disposed therein in the form of a shaped solid composite mass comprising an aggregate base having a quantity of food particles, wherein at least a portion of the food piece is in conforming contact with the flexible package portion and wherein the food piece has a water activity of 0.45 or less is disclosed. In one embodiment the packaged food article further comprises binder. In most embodiments, the binder comprises 25% or less, by weight, of the product, resulting in a product that is less sweet than other grain-based handheld food products, yet retains a chewy texture. In another embodiment, highly oxygen sensitive ingredients are used as a food ingredient. The resulting product has a very long shelf life, maintaining its full color, texture and flavor for at least 3 months, up to about 12 months.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 19, 2007
    Date of Patent: July 27, 2010
    Assignee: General Mills IP Holdings II, LLC.
    Inventors: William E. Archibald, Dean F. Funk, Robert J. Harrison
  • Patent number: D611676
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 2, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 16, 2010
    Assignee: General Mills, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael S. Damron, Jeffrey R. Strand
  • Patent number: D622927
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 18, 2009
    Date of Patent: September 7, 2010
    Assignee: General Mills Marketing, Inc.
    Inventor: Jonathan M. Griebel
  • Patent number: D622928
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 18, 2009
    Date of Patent: September 7, 2010
    Assignee: General Mills Marketing, Inc.
    Inventor: Jonathan M. Griebel
  • Patent number: D623376
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 18, 2009
    Date of Patent: September 14, 2010
    Assignee: General Mills Marketing, Inc.
    Inventor: Jonathan M. Griebel
  • Patent number: D623826
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 18, 2009
    Date of Patent: September 21, 2010
    Assignee: General Mills Marketing, Inc.
    Inventor: Jonathan M. Griebel
  • Patent number: D629586
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 18, 2009
    Date of Patent: December 28, 2010
    Assignee: General Mills Cereals, LLC
    Inventor: Jonathan M. Griebel
  • Patent number: D639526
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 8, 2010
    Date of Patent: June 14, 2011
    Assignee: General Mills IP Holdings II, LLC
    Inventors: Patrick E. Allen, Gregory Flickinger
  • Patent number: D655886
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 3, 2009
    Date of Patent: March 20, 2012
    Assignee: General Mills Cereals, Inc.
    Inventors: Nicholas D. Kovich, Anthony W. Richards