Commentary

General Mills Gains In Pet Foods, While Cereals Boost Bottom Line

General Mills yesterday reported that sales of its Blue Buffalo pet food lines were up 16% for its second-quarter 2020, while cereal sales rose 5% in the U.S. Snack bars and yogurt sales were down 2% and 4% respectively. Overall, net sales of $4.4 billion were flat to last year results, but with its quarterly profit beating analysts’ expectations, GM’s stock rose 3%, Reuters reports  for CNBC.

“The owner of Cheerios and Betty Crocker has been weighed down by brands that are outdated or facing tougher competition from generic products. Diversifying into businesses such as pet food is helping General Mills offset laggards like baking mixes and Yoplait yogurt. Many Americans are spending more money to feed their pets higher quality, more natural foods,” Annie Gasparro writes  for The Wall Street Journal.

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General Mills has grown Blue Buffalo’s sales by getting the pet food into more stores, including Walmart. The next step is adding more treats and wet dog food, CEO Jeff Harmening tells Gasparro.

“It’s really snacking -- the same trend we see in human food,” he said.

The company reported “net income of 57 cents per share. Earnings, adjusted for asset impairment costs and costs related to mergers and acquisitions, were 85 cents per share. The results beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 81 cents per share,” the AP reports.

"The company's U.S. cereal business, which has had its fair share of challenges in the past decade, posted one of its best quarters in recent memory, growing sales by 5%,” Kristen Leigh Painter writes  for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“On cereal, we feel really, really good about our performance to date [this year],” Jon Nudi, president of North America Retail said on an earnings call yesterday transcribed by Seeking Alpha. “We had our best quarter on Cheerios in over a decade, with the Cheerios franchise up 6%.”

“These improvements have been driven by aggressive marketing and innovation efforts, he said, with General Mills releasing the top four new cereal products introduced in the last year -- Blueberry Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch Churros, Chocolate Toast Crunch and Fruity Lucky Charms,” Painter continues.

“Nearly 50% of all innovation in [U.S.] cereal is coming from General Mills,” Nudi said.

General Mills also gained market share in cereal for the quarter by advertising its biggest brands, Harmening told the WSJ’s Gasparro.

As good as the yesterday’s cereal news may be, “let it never be said that General Mills is resting on its laurels,” as Fox News’ Michael Bartiromo wrote  last week.

How so?

“The cereal brand, which could rest easy knowing that Cheerios and Lucky Charms will remain breakfast staples until long after we’re all dead, has introduced not one, but two new kinds of cereal based on candies that no one would have expected to end up in our morning meals,” Bartiromo continues.

Are you ready for Jolly Rancher Cereal? 

“The colorful crunchy pieces represent most of the candy’s flavors: grape, cherry, apple, watermelon and blue raspberry,” Taylor Rock reports for The Daily Meal. If you can’t wait to scarf it down, the fruity morsels are available exclusively at Walmart for a couple of months before the company expands their distribution elsewhere.

If you’re more of a chocoholic, what could be more satisfying than Hershey’s Kisses Cereal? 

“YouTuber Tami Dunn, who posts cooking videos as well as snack reviews, is one of the first to find this sweet cereal on shelves. In her video review  of the cereal, she says she bought it for $3.64 at Walmart, but as we all know, prices will likely vary by location,” Kristan Salaky reports  for Delish.

“The pieces of cereal are shaped exactly like the iconic chocolate and they have a similar look to Cocoa Puffs. Dunn gave the cereal a pretty good review, and she confirmed that the cereal does indeed leave a rich, chocolatey milk at the bottom of the bowl to enjoy.”

Don’t indulge in too much of the sweet stuff over the holidays, and I’ll see you back here after New Year’s.

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