Kellogg CEO: Tough economy into 2010

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The recession has resulted in Kellogg Co K.N selling more cereal and other food to people trying to save money by eating at home, a habit the company's CEO expects to continue even after the economy turns around.

“My personal view is that when the economy improves, what we’re seeing is going to be a generational change from the consumer perspective,” Kellogg CEO David Mackay said during an interview.

Mackay said it was difficult to quantify how much Kellogg and other food makers have benefited from frugal consumers shifting to dining at home instead of at restaurants, but that it has helped the packaged-food industry.

Consumers that have been affected by high unemployment and other consequences of this recession are likely to remain cautious for some time, Mackay said. At the same time, they may find that they enjoyed eating more a home.

Mackay also does not foresee a quick rebound by the economy, with unemployment expected to remain high.

“We think the next 12 months at a minimum are going to be challenging,” Mackay said.

Earlier on Thursday, Kellogg, which makes Froot Loops cereal and Keebler cookies, posted higher-than-expected quarterly earnings. Its shares were up 11 cents at $48.15 on the New York Stock exchange.

Reporting by Brad Dorfman, editing by Maureen Bavdek