Focus Stock: General Mills, a Top Pick for Tough Times

S&P thinks the packaged-foods behemoth is a smart defensive play as a slowing economy prompts consumers to eat more at home

In a difficult economic environment, we expect General Mills (GIS; recent price, $65)—the name behind well-known brands like Cheerios, Betty Crocker, and Green Giant—to benefit from a shift toward cost-conscious consumers eating more at home. This should particularly help the packaged food giant's product categories such as cereal and soup, which offer relatively inexpensive per-serving costs to consumers. We expect that the company's marketing support of its diversified portfolio of brands will help General Mills to withstand competition from lower-priced private-label competitors.

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