What happened 

Shares of General Mills (NYSE:GIS) were up 15.1% in the first half of 2020, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, as the company performed well during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

So what 

That makes sense, since General Mills' products are performing well in grocery stores, more than offsetting losses in restaurant sales. That's exemplified by the company's 21% increase in sales in the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended May 31. Organic sales were even up an impressive 16%, a rate you wouldn't normally see in the food business. 

Person shopping in a grocery store.

Image source: Getty Images.

Convenience and food-service sales struggled as restaurant sales declined, resulting in a 24% drop. But North American retail grocery sales were up 36% and pet sales jumped 37% versus a year ago. There doesn't seem to be an end in sight to the pandemic, so the increase in sales may last for a while.

Now what 

It's hard to see how General Mills doesn't come out of COVID-19 a winner when compared with most other companies. And shares now trade at just 17.7 times trailing earnings, a ratio that could drop if the recent increase in sales and earnings holds. This may not be a high-growth stock long term, but it may be one of the best value stocks on the market. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.