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Lockdown baking boom boosts General Mills sales

Baking and snacking at home proved to be a great recipe for General Mills’ profits in the latest quarter. Students and families stuck at home baked and cooked, driving sales higher in most of the food manufacturer’s product lines.

They’re buying a lot more cereal such as Cheerios, and choosing bigger sizes at that.

What’s more, sales of baking products and meals shot up 31% as shoppers snapped up goods such as its Betty Crocker cake mixes and refrigerated Pillsbury biscuits.

Those sales fattened the company’s bottom line, driving profit up nearly 23%.

The company said it held or gained market share in most of its top retail categories and gained new customers as well. Young people flocked to its Pillsbury and Betty Crocker websites to look up recipes. Visits to those sites have nearly doubled since the start of the health crisis.

General Mills said it expects at-home demand will remain elevated in the current quarter. But over the next three months, earnings could come under pressure as the company increasingly uses third-party manufacturers to meet retail demand and spends more on hygiene and sanitation measures.