By Gavin Gibbon
Covid-19 lockdown measures saw sales increases in baking products and snacks
Food giant General Mills has witnessed double digit growth across its brands throughout the Middle East during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The global giant, which is worth $18 billion and owns household brands including Betty Crocker, Green Giant, Haagen Daas and Nature Valley, revealed an uptick in sales despite the enforced restrictions.
Balki Radhakrishnan, vice president and managing director, Asia, Middle East and Africa, told Arabian Business: “Business has done really well. We’ve had strong momentum, but it’s not just because of consumer momentum, it is because of ensuring that products are available in the right place at the right time.
“From a business growth standpoint it has been well above our expectations, clearly very strong double-digit growth across different categories in the portfolio.”
Radhakrishnan said there had been particularly strong growth in the baking section of the business, with many turning their hand to home baking during the enforced lockdown period.
“In the baking section, we’ve got really strong performance, both on the Betty Crocker cakes side, as people are baking a lot more. But at the same time they’re also seeing a lot of momentum with more snackable items that are being baked at home, such as brownies, cookies. Usually those are smaller parts of the portfolio versus the cakes and more celebration occasions,” he said.
“We’ve seen incredible amounts of growth, exponential I would say, on that side of the business, in terms of the snackable items of the portfolio,” he added.
The company’s Green Giant brand was another to record “strong double digit growth”, according to Radhakrishnan, “because people are looking for more nutrition hygiene and to simplify the meal preparation as well”, he said.
General Mills also launched the Nature Valley Raw and Simple bars, containing dates and almonds, in the region during the lockdown.
“The fastest growing parts of our portfolio are actually all locally made. I want to say, roughly two thirds of what we sell in the MENA region is made locally. Your baking mixes, the Bugles, the new Nature Valley launches. There is a clear and conscious effort to see how we can meet local needs through local solutions and that’s only going to continue,” said Radhakrishnan.