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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

One of America's food giants just dropped a hint about how the pandemic changed (and didn't change) eating habits.

Why it matters: General Mills — owner of iconic brands like Cheerios, Yoplait and Betty Crocker — won big at the height of COVID-19.

  • How this class of pandemic-era winners fares now gives a glimpse into which habits are sticking and which aren't.

Demand for at-home food is slumping as "offices and schools reopen and the broader economic recovery continues," General Mills said Wednesday.

  • The extreme hoarding and pantry stocking that gave the company a boost is long gone.

The big picture: Companies like General Mills face almost impossible comparisons. Their sales look puny compared to the monster revenue they raked in during the depths of the crisis.

  • "This is the first quarter where we can honestly say it looked more like the pre-pandemic America than the pandemic America," says Tom Essaye, a former trader who writes the Sevens Report.
  • One gauge of General Mills revenue was down 6% from the same time last year — but 4% above pre-pandemic levels.

What's helping: Some pandemic behavior is showing signs of staying power, General Mills CEO Jeff Harmening told analysts today.

Work from home: "Consumers will eat at home more than they did prior to the pandemic and ... use our products more than prior to the pandemic as well," Harmening said.

E-commerce is now 11% of sales — up from 5% before the pandemic. "Anytime you add convenience to someone's lives, it tends to stick."

The other side: Cereal could see a comeback after more time-consuming breakfasts like pancakes saw faster growth during the pandemic.

Worth noting: General Mills is bracing for "the highest level of input cost inflation that we've seen in 10 years," Harmening says.

Go deeper

Return-to-work plans on ice after COVID spike

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Even more "back-to-office" callbacks are being postponed amid a surge in COVID-19 infections.

Why it matters: It feels like March 13, 2020, all over again. When businesses sent all their workers home, it was an early big hint the pandemic was going to upend our lives.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
6 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 8 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."