Consumers Remain Cautious: General Mills CEO

Consumers are still cautious and there’s likely to be only a slow recovery, General Mills CEO Kendall Powell told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

General Mills
General Mills

“The cereal category in Europe has slowed a little bit,” the General Mills CEO said. “In those developed European markets, we’re seeing a little bit of the same consumer sentiment that we see here in the U.S. They’re pretty cautious.”

Outside Europe business looks much better. Powell said in places like China and Brazil, the cereal category is growing in the high-single, low-double digits. (Related: Retail's Hottest Emerging Markets).

General Mills is also looking for good growth in yogurt, which Powell said is expanding 5-10 percent in the U.S. “The fact that there are new competitors coming in, lots of innovation, and expanding shelf space, this is an indication of an exciting high-growth category,” Powell said.

While corn prices have spikedrecently, Powell noted grains are just 10% of the company’s overall ingredient basket. Energy is more crucial and he’s confident inflation will be more moderate this year than last year.

“We’re a very light user of corn,” he said. “We’re buying energy, we’re buying oil, and we’re buying packaging.”

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