Jeff Harmening says yogurt brand Yopliat will play a part, despite dramatic sales decline.

By Susie Gharib
August 29, 2017

Innovation and fresh organic products is Jeff Harmening’s recipe for success at General Mills. He’s the new CEO of the 150-year-old company famous for producing iconic products like Cheerios, Gold Medal flour and Yoplait.

Speaking with Fortune’s Susie Gharib, Harmening says he expects to turn around the two-year sales decline at General Mills by the end of 2017. “The first and foremost key for us to get back to growth is to follow what consumers want,” he says, “whether that’s in Haagen-Dazs ice-cream, in Annie’s organics, or in gluten-free Cheerios.”

A 23-year veteran of General Mills, Harmening knows well the story behind the missteps the company made with Yoplait, which was once the top-selling yogurt brand in the U.S. He’s hoping that the launch of a new French-style yogurt, called “Oui”, can reverse the dramatic sales decline.

“Our goal is not only to stabilize our yogurt business. Our goal is to lead growth in the yogurt category again,” says Harmening, adding, “Not only do we think we can do well here in the U.S., but we’ve also introduced Yoplait into China, and that business is going really well. We have high hopes for that, as well.”

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