To beat the summer heat, General Mills Inc.’s (GIS) popular brand Betty Crocker launched the 2012 Summer Pop collection, Frozen Pops.

The collection offers 12 easy-to-make frozen pops recipes ranging from fresh fruit and yogurt pops for children, to cocktail pops as well. The new range of products is expected to be an instant hit, as it is based on the latest food preferences of the customers.

Frozen Pops are Do-It-Yourself recipes and do not require any special equipments. Simple paper cups, sticks and a freezer is enough to make these. These recipes can be fun and creative, and can especially be appealing to children.

Since General Mills has been striving to improve the nutrition profile of its array of products, these frozen pops include healthy ingredients like strawberries, carrots, spinach and coconuts. At the same time, the collection includes some interesting cocktail pops containing fresh fruits, white wine and light rum, which is meant to appeal to the adult taste buds.

General Mills offers packaged consumer food and Betty Crocker is one of its leading brands of baking products. Betty Crocker has been offering dessert mixes, frostings and convenient meals since 1921. Net sales of baking products division grew by 11 % year over year in the third quarter of 2012, led by Betty Crocker dessert mixes. Introduction of Frozen Pops recipes are expected to contribute to the growth of the baking products segment of the company.

Management expects its fiscal 2012 earnings to be in the range of $2.53-$2.55 per share, excluding mark-to-market effects and integration costs for the Yoplait acquisition. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is 58 cents for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, and $2.54 for fiscal 2012.

We appreciate the excellent brand positioning of General Mills. The company’s continuous effort to introduce new products is impressive. However, we prefer to remain on the sidelines until the U.S. retail volumes improve and the macroeconomic environment recovers. Also, the margin continues to be hurt due to inflationary input cost.

General Mills Inc carries a Zacks #4 Rank in the near term (Sell rating). One of its peers, Kellogg Co (K) currently has a Zacks #3 Rank in the near term (Hold rating).

Based in Minneapolis, General Mills Inc. is a producer of packaged consumer food and operates exclusively in the consumer food industry. Some of the well known brands of the company are Pillsbury, Cheerios, Chex, Total, Kix, Wheaties, Golden Grahams, Trix, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Lucky Charms.

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