General Mills has maintained its full-year earnings forecast despite warning that commodity costs will climb higher than anticipated.

The US food giant, maker of brands including Häagen-Dazs ice cream and Cheerios cereals, held firm on its earnings per share guidance of US$3.39-3.43 despite rising costs.

"The company expects input cost inflation will be higher in the second half than in the first half, and that full-year inflation will be greater than originally estimated," General Mills said today (19 December). "However, above-plan results through the first half, pricing and increased productivity savings are expected to offset this cost pressure."

General Mills today posted half-year operating profit of US$1.3bn - up 3.9% on the year - for the six months to 25 November. Higher input costs, a hike in marketing expenditure and a pizza recall weighed on earnings. Net sales rose 7% to $6.8bn.

CEO Ken Powell said: "Our worldwide operations are continuing to generate good growth in fiscal 2008. Each of our three business segments reported net sales gains for the second quarter and first half. This performance has us on track to achieve our full-year growth targets."

General Mills' international sales rose 20%, led by growth in Latin America. Profits jumped 32% to $155.3m

Domestic sales rose 4.6% thanks to growth from Nature Valley snacks and Yoplait yoghurt. November's pizza recall cost the company around $20m and profits from its US retail business inched up 1.4% to $1.05bn.