As Australian states and territories experience different stages of COVID-19 lockdowns, consumer needs have also fluctuated.
General Mills has been at the centre of COVID-19 changes, first experiencing the increased demand of stockpiling at the beginning of the pandemic in April and now navigating the different needs around Australia as states and territories head to a “COVID normal”.
Victoria’s continued lockdown has seen General Mills experience stable growth in Victoria, up 17 per cent on last year, compared to the company’s national figure of 14 per cent for the 21 weeks ending 2 August 2020.
However, in Queensland and New South Wales, where COVID-19 restrictions have eased, General Mills has seen sales settle closer to business as usual levels.
General Mills Managing Director Peter Everett said the top priority for General Mills is to support the community through whatever stage they’re in.
“What we’ve noticed in Victoria is continued growth across our home-cooked meal brands, such as Old El Paso and Latina Fresh, as restaurants and cafes remain closed to in-house dining and more Victorians cook at home,” Mr Everett said.
“At General Mills, we’re always trying to find ways to help our customers which has led us to create the Old El Paso Tortilla Pockets as a “mess-free” way for families to enjoy Old El Paso and give parents one less thing to worry about as the restrictions continue.”
“As the country transitions to a COVID normal, General Mills will continue to adapt to the different challenges that might develop to meet our customers changing needs,” Mr Everett said.
While product mix and meeting demand are important for General Mills, they believe food companies have a responsibility to give back and ensure all members of society can enjoy the basic necessity of food, particularly in the current context.
They have demonstrated this through their recent announcement of a model that is unique to Foodbank Australia, with General Mills’ Rooty Hill plant in Western Sydney producing on average 10,000 dedicated meals of Latina ™ Fresh ricotta and spinach agnolotti each month, for the next year, for people in need.
“We take our responsibility to help Australia through this pandemic seriously, which can be seen across our product offering and through our partnership with Foodbank Australia,” Mr Everett said.
This comes as the General Mills Foundation has granted a further $100,000 USD (Approx. $137,500 AUD) to Foodbank Australia to help respond to the significant increase in community need for food staples due to the pandemic.