General Mills plans to cut about 700 to 800 jobs

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NEW YORK (AP) — General Mills plans to cut approximately 700 to 800 jobs, the second time it's trimmed its work force in a month, as the food company adjusts for a shift by U.S. consumers away from boxed or frozen meals.

The Minneapolis company that owns Betty Crocker and Green Giant brands said in a regulatory filing that the job cuts will take place mostly in the U.S. It expects about $135 million to $160 million in restructuring charges and foresees annual cost savings of approximately $125 million to $150 million, starting in fiscal 2016.

General Mills Inc. anticipates the current restructuring to be completed by fiscal 2015's end.

Other household names in the U.S. like Kellogg Co. and H.J. Heinz Co., have also had to readjust to shifting American diets.

Last month General Mills, which also makes Cheerios and Yoplait yogurt, said that it was closing a facility in Methuen, Massachusetts, which would eliminate about 250 positions. It also announced plans to close a plant in Lodi, California that would result in approximately 430 jobs being cut. General Mills said in a regulatory filing at the time that the decision on the Lodi facility was tentative, as it still had to have negotiations with the union there. The company said that the closing of the Lodi plant would eliminate excess cereal and dry mix from its supply chain.

General Mills has been tweaking its recipes and getting into new foods as it tries to satisfy an American palate heading in a new direction. It gave Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal a stronger cinnamon taste, removed aspartame sugar substitute from Yoplait Light and released a new line of Cheerios with added protein.

General Mills also announced in September that it plans to buy Annie's, the maker of rabbit-shaped organic mac and cheese, for $820 million. The deal is expected to close later this year.

Shares of General Mills rose 79 cents to $51.24 before the opening bell Wednesday.

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