One of America's food giants just dropped a hint about how the pandemic changed (and didn't change) eating habits.
Why it matters: General Mills — owner of iconic brands like Cheerios, Yoplait and Betty Crocker — won big at the height of COVID-19.
- How this class of pandemic-era winners fares now gives a glimpse into which habits are sticking and which aren't.
Demand for at-home food is slumping as "offices and schools reopen and the broader economic recovery continues," General Mills said Wednesday.
- The extreme hoarding and pantry stocking that gave the company a boost is long gone.
The big picture: Companies like General Mills face almost impossible comparisons. Their sales look puny compared to the monster revenue they raked in during the depths of the crisis.
- "This is the first quarter where we can honestly say it looked more like the pre-pandemic America than the pandemic America," says Tom Essaye, a former trader who writes the Sevens Report.
- One gauge of General Mills revenue was down 6% from the same time last year — but 4% above pre-pandemic levels.
What's helping: Some pandemic behavior is showing signs of staying power, General Mills CEO Jeff Harmening told analysts today.
Work from home: "Consumers will eat at home more than they did prior to the pandemic and ... use our products more than prior to the pandemic as well," Harmening said.
E-commerce is now 11% of sales — up from 5% before the pandemic. "Anytime you add convenience to someone's lives, it tends to stick."
The other side: Cereal could see a comeback after more time-consuming breakfasts like pancakes saw faster growth during the pandemic.
Worth noting: General Mills is bracing for "the highest level of input cost inflation that we've seen in 10 years," Harmening says.