General Mills Launches New Cheerios, Other Products

The manufacturing giant introduced 100 new products in the first half of its 2012 fiscal year and plans to introduce roughly 50 more before the fiscal year ends in late May.

The next time you're in the cereal aisle at the grocery store, you'll see some new products alongside the bright yellow Cheerios box-and General Mills is banking on the fact that you'll be intrigued enough to add them to your cart.

The Golden Valley-based food maker is unveiling a wide variety of new food items this year. The company announced Wednesday that it recently released Dulce de Leche Cheerios.

Dulce de leche is traditionally used in Latin American desserts.

“This caramel-flavored cereal features a taste profile that's popular with Hispanic consumers, but we think it will have broad appeal,” CEO Ken Powell told investors in a conference call late last month.

General Mills introduced 100 new products in the first half of its 2012 fiscal year and plans to introduce roughly 50 more before it ends in late May. Other cereals making a debut are Multi Grain Cheerios Peanut Butter and Frosted Toast Crunch.

Nature Valley protein bars are also new to grocery store shelves, and General Mills is taking advantage of the Greek yogurt craze by launching Yoplait-branded Greek yogurt and granola parfaits, plus new flavors of traditional Greek yogurt in multi packs. Lactose-free Yoplait yogurt is another item joining the roster of new products.

In July, General Mills completed a $1.2 billion deal through which it acquired a controlling interest in the French company that sells Yoplait worldwide.

For the second quarter that ended November 27, General Mills' sales rose 14 percent to $4.6 billion, a jump that's attributed in part to the Yoplait acquisition. But net income decreased 28 percent to $444.8 million, or 67 cents per share, on charges related to the acquisition and production costs.

Powell said last month that the Yoplait acquisition will continue to boost net sales and operating profit in the second half of fiscal 2012.

General Mills is among Minnesota's 10-largest public companies based on revenue, which totaled $14.9 billion for the fiscal year that ended in May 2011. The company is predicting “double-digit growth in net sales and high single-digit to low double-digit growth in adjusted diluted earnings per share” for the second half of fiscal 2012.