People are buying less yogurt and soup, and it's hurting General Mills - Bring Me The News

People are buying less yogurt and soup, and it's hurting General Mills

General Mills is paying for falling behind with the Greek-style yogurt craze.
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It's been a tough start to the day for General Mills, one of Minnesota's biggest employers, which has announced disappointing sales figures Tuesday morning.

The Golden Valley food giant confirmed that its second quarter sales were down 7 percent to $4.1 billion on last year, while its profits are down 9 percent to $482 million.

The reasons? Declining interest in yogurt and soups are among them, with General Mills reporting sluggish sales of its Yoplait and Progresso brands.

Sales of another Minnesota name, Pillsbury, affected the bottom line too, with refrigerated dough sales also down.

These struggling brands offset good performances by its Annie's and Larabar organic products, Old El Paso and Totino's pizza rolls that are enjoying a bit of a renaissance, not doubt helped in part by its excellent Twitter account.

The company has been making cost savings as well this past quarter, which will continue after announcing earlier this month it will be cutting 600 jobs in the new year.

The downturn in Yoplait is a blow for the company, which is in the process of revamping its yogurt department.

The Star Tribune reported in June that yogurt is the "new measuring stick" for General Mills, after a period in which the Golden Valley company has seen its market share decline from 30 percent in 2011 to 20 percent this year.

The newspaper notes the company was slow on the up-take when rivals like Dannon and upstarts like Chobani jumped on the trend for natural-style Greek yogurt, with General Mills now overhauling 60 percent of its yogurt portfolio as it plays catch-up.

The Street reports that General Mills' yogurt sales were down 17 percent in the second quarter.

The company's review of yogurt over the next 12 months will focus on "improving packaging and flavor options," the website notes.

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