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Kellogg's To Trace Its Palm Oil Suppliers, While General Mills Looks Internationally For More Opportunities

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Some recent dispatches from the breakfast cereal front.

The Battle Creek, Michigan-based Kellogg Company (NYSE: K) says it is working to ensure the palm oil used in its products is responsibly produced, and doesn't come from plantations that harm local environments. According to The Associated Press, the cultivation of palm oil has destroyed tens of thousands of acres of vulnerable rainforest in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia.

"As a socially responsible company, traceable, transparent sourcing of palm oil is important to us,” Diane Holdorf, Kellogg Company Chief Sustainability Officer, said in a press statement, “and we are collaborating with our suppliers to make sure the palm oil we use is not associated with deforestation, climate change or the violation of human rights.”

Palm oil production is a multi-billion-dollar business globally, and AP says it is also minor ingredient in some Kellogg products, such as toaster pastries, waffles and cookies.

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Reuters, meanwhile, reports General Mills (NYSE: GIS) – suffering from weak sales at home – is again turning its eye overseas to some rapidly-expanding, emerging markets.

In 2012, the company purchased Brazilian food maker Yoki Alimentos for $1 billion.

And now, Reuters says General Mills is “actively investigating” opportunities to expand in India and Indonesia, as well as across North Africa and the Middle East.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune says General Mills is also looking to branch out further into the yogurt business.

Several years ago, the company bought a 51-percent interest in France's Yoplait for more than $1 billion. And COO Christopher O'Leary, according to the newspaper, announced company plans to open a yogurt production plant in China.

General Mills CEO Ken Powell, speaking at a business conference in Florida on Tuesday, acknowledged “it's been a tough winter for U.S. consumers and for U.S. food industry sales,” but said he remains optimistic about his company's long-term growth.

“There's plenty of growth to be had,” he added, “and it's our job to get it.”

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