VIDEO: Watch online General Mills movie ad with Cheech and Chong The stars of 1980s stoner comedies are featured in a funny promotion for Fiber One brownies, a new high-fiber snack targeted at aging baby boomers. The online-only commercial resembles a movie trailer, and the twist comes at the end: the "magic" ingredient turns out to be fiber, not marijuana.
Greek-style yogurt has emerged as a supermarket darling, a high-protein product with a health aura that rattles the longtime leader. Once virtually unknown, Greek-style yogurt now captures about one-quarter of the U.S. yogurt market. Yoplait, a brand of Minnesota-based General Mills, has "some work to do . . . to get into the game," General Mills' retail chief said Wednesday.
The deal protects General Mills' U.S. yogurt business. The food maker has sold Yoplait, the world's second-largest yogurt brand, under license in the U.S. for 30 years. The companies have been in arbitration about the future of that license.
The Minnesota maker of Cheerios cereal and Yoplait yogurt posted a 15 percent higher profit for its fiscal third quarter on lower commodity costs and rising sales boosted by a sharp increase in marketing spending.
General Mills — the maker of Lucky Charms, Trix and Cocoa Puffs — plans to reduce the amount of sugar in its cereals marketed to children. "The reduction ... doesn't represent perfection but it represents improvement," said Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University.
The Golden Valley, Minn.-based company says earnings surged to $358.8 million, or $1.07 per share, for the three months ended May 31. That compares with $185.2 million, or 53 cents per share, a year ago.
Retailers, who begrudgingly went along when food makers pushed up prices to recoup record-high costs, are flexing newfound muscle and demanding price cuts to match the recent steep retreat in ingredient costs. Food makers are resisting, saying the uncertain economy and volatile costs make price cuts unwise. But retailers aren't backing down.
Emily Fredrix and Sarah Skidmore
, March 16, 2009
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