MINNEAPOLIS – The economy soon could have consumers eating at home more often, said Jeffrey L. Harmening, chief executive officer of General Mills, Inc. Lockdowns caused by COVID-19 had consumers eating more products at home in 2020, lifting General Mills’ sales, and Mr. Harmening also brought up the recession of 2008-09.

“We saw that consumption of away-from-home eating was down and replaced by at-home eating,” he said in a June 29 call with investors to discuss fiscal-year results. “We're seeing the same kind of behavior start now.”

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program could drive General Mills’ top line, too, he said.

“While SNAP is down versus pandemic highs, it's still above pre-pandemic periods,” he said.

General Mills’ net income for fiscal 2022, ended May 29, was $2.71 billion, equal to $4.46 per share on the common stock and a 16% increase over fiscal 2021 when the company earned $2.34 billion, equal to $3.81 per share. Fiscal 2022 sales were $19 billion, up 5% compared to the previous fiscal year.

Sales increased 3% to $11.57 billion in the Minneapolis-based company’s North America Retail business unit when compared to the previous fiscal year. Operating profit in North American Retail fell 1% in constant currency to $2.7 billion, driven primarily by higher input costs and lower volume, partially offset by favorable net price realization and mix and lower selling, general and administrative expenses, according to the company.

Over the past fiscal year General Mills focused on pivoting quickly to respond to supply chain disruptions, Mr. Harmening said in pre-recorded management remarks released June 29.

“For instance, we were able to quickly address ingredient shortages on our US Pillsbury and Totino's business in Q3, driving a rapid rebound in our on-shelf availability,” he said. “While our service and availability metrics were below our historical standards, I am proud to say that we were consistently ahead of our competition in the majority of our businesses, leading to stronger share performance and better relationships with our retail customers.”

General Mills has innovations planned for the current fiscal year.

“We're launching an exciting lineup of new products in the first half of fiscal '23, including Cinnamon Toast Crunch rolls cereal and Pillsbury mini pie crusts in the US, Nature Valley Crunchy dip bars in the US and Europe, new varieties of Häagen-Dazs DUO and Twist & Crunch offerings in Asia and Europe, and continued expansion of our Tastefuls Spoonless Singles innovation on Blue Buffalo,” Mr. Harmening said.