General Mills laying off workers as part of push to prepare for post-pandemic landscape: report

The company does expect some pandemic trends to stick around in the future

General Mills has thrived amid the coronavirus pandemic with people worldwide eating more at home over the past year, but the company is downsizing its workforce as part of a push to prepare itself for the post-pandemic future, the Star Tribune reported.

The company saw an 8% net sales increase through the third quarter of its fiscal year, which ended Feb 28. 

"Achieving our long-term goals starts with driving profitable growth on our core business, and I’m very proud that we've been doing that over the past year," General Mills CEO Jeff Harmening said at a BMO Global Farm to Market Conference as he laid out the company's new "Accelerate" strategy for growth. 

"We’ve been competing effectively and are gaining share across our core markets and the majority of our brands," he said. "That includes fiscal year-to-date share gains in cereal, pet foods, ice cream, snack bars, and Mexican food — our five global platforms."

Boxes of General Mills' Honey Nut Cheerios are displayed at Scotty's Market in San Rafael, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


That pandemic-boom could be waning though as coronavirus cases plummet and vaccinations skyrocket, which means the company is bracing for layoffs as part of that Accelerate strategy, according to the Star Tribune. 

"I know this isn't easy and that there are real world personal impacts in us making this shift. And last week was especially hard as we shared that reshaping our organization meant that many of our colleagues will be leaving General Mills," Harmening told employees Tuesday in an internal memo, which was obtained by the Star Tribune. 

"I also want to be transparent: there are more hard decisions yet to come," Harmening continued, according to the local newspaper. "Please know, none of these decisions are made lightly — and we are striving to do all of this quickly and respectfully."

Kelsey Roemhildt, corporate communications senior manager for General Mills, said their Accelerate strategy will "drive momentum in the markets we serve around the world."

"We are investing in key areas such as digital, data & technology, E-commerce and others that are critical to our future success," she told FOX Business Thursday.


The company does expect that some of the consumer trends during the pandemic could stick around in a coronavirus-free future. 

"General Mills expects that changes in consumer behaviors driven by the COVID-19 pandemic will result in ongoing elevated consumer demand for food at home, relative to pre-pandemic levels," the company wrote in announcing its third-quarter earnings. "These changes include more time spent working from home and increased consumer appreciation for cooking and baking."