- General Mills Inc. Chief Financial Officer Don Mulligan revealed in a Wednesday earnings call that anti-corruption efforts in China have hurt its sales of Haagen-Dazs mooncake ice cream products.
- The cakes are popular gifts in the country during the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, but demand for the pastries has decreased since they were implicated in bribery transactions with public officials.
- The company is still seeing "high single-digit" sales growth at its Haagen-Dazs stores in China, according to Mulligan, but 25% year-over-year growth for its mooncake products appears to a thing of the past.
Mooncakes in China have been an interesting story this year, taking hit as a category amid President Xi Jinping's push to curb corruption. The cakes in some cases can be stuffed with shark's fins, encrusted with gold or otherwise filled with cash or valuables.
The Chinese market is unique and filled with opportunities for food companies, but this is just one more instance unique cultural and legal factors that brands such as Haagen-Dazs need to navigate.