C.P.W. provides profitable returns for General Mills, Nestle

by Eric Schroeder
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BOCA RATON, FLA. — With more than $2 billion in net sales across more than 130 countries, Cereal Partners Worldwide, a joint venture between Minneapolis-based General Mills, Inc. and Vevey, Switzerland-based Nestle S.A., is “nicely profitable” and “a growing source of cash return to its two parent companies,” said Chris O’Leary, executive vice-president and chief operating officer, international, General Mills.

In a Feb. 18 presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Boca Raton, Mr. O’Leary discussed the role of C.P.W. as part of General Mills’ rapid international expansion. He also announced David P. Homer has been named chief executive officer of C.P.W. Mr. Homer will succeed Jeffrey L. Harmening, who earlier this year was tapped to take over as executive vice-president and chief operating officer of U.S. Retail following the retirement of Ian Friendly.

Mr. Homer joined General Mills in 1987 as a financial analyst in the corporate growth and development department where he worked on divestiture and acquisition activity before moving into marketing in 1989.  He held a variety of marketing positions within General Mills, including marketing manager for Big G New Enterprises, where he was responsible for new cereal products, and he was marketing director for the Flour and Baking Mixes business unit. He later became managing director of Australasia, where he was responsible for the company’s operations in Australia and New Zealand, including the manufacturing, distribution and sales of Old El Paso Mexican Foods, Latina and Frescarini fresh pasta products, Betty Crocker dessert mixes and van den Bergh’s frozen dough products. Most recently he has been senior vice-president, president, of General Mills Canada, since 2008.

As head of C.P.W., Mr. O’Leary said Mr. Homer’s focus will be on three main strategies to drive top-line growth: Investing in core brands that have global scale, bringing health news and innovation to the category, and building leading share positions in the world’s emerging cereal markets.

Speaking to the last strategy, Mr. O’Leary said, “In Indonesia, we are teaching moms about the health and nutrition credentials of the cereal category. Our advertising compares the nutrition of a cereal breakfast to common local choices. Last February, Cereal Partners Indonesia partnered with the National Association of Nutritionists to promote the first ever national breakfast week. This initiative helped drive retail sales growth of 30% for CP Indonesia and increased market share by 150 basis points to an impressive 84% of the category.

“Cereal can deliver on the consumer need for weight management solutions as well. In Brazil, we are leveraging all of the science that shows people who make cereal a regular part of their breakfast have lower body mass indexes. We invested in a (heavy-up) plan for the Nesfit franchise in Rio, a region whose consumers over-index on weight management interest. The results were encouraging. Nesfit volume doubled in Rio during the campaign, growing twice as fast of the rest of the market. In total, Cereal Partners Brazil retail sales grew 9% for calendar 2013.”

Established in 1990, C.P.W. has nearly 5,000 employees, a global network of facilities and a 22% value share of the global cereal category. Its brands include Fitness, Nesquick, Cheerios and Chocapic.
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