General Mills Get Boost From Brand Oprah

General Mills better-than-expected quarterly results came from some unusual sources: its natural-foods unit, international customers, a bevy of new product launches, and from convenience stores and food-service providers. Plus, it got help from Oprah Winfrey, whose popular "Best-Life Diet" includes so many General Mills products that the company believes it made a difference in third-quarter sales. The book was written by Winfrey's personal trainer.

CEO Steve Sanger noted that the quarter is historically strong for healthier food products, "but we think they did a little better, after that "Best-Life Diet" came out."

The company has launched an array of cereals this fiscal year, including Nature Valley granola, Disney-themed children's cereals and Fruity Cheerios. The company says it has scored productivity gains through plant consolidations, but Sanger hinted that a price increase might be coming as grain prices rise.

Read the whole story at St. Paul Pioneer Press »