General Mills Inc reported lower-than-expected quarterly earnings on Tuesday, as higher ingredient costs hurt gross margins.

The maker of Progresso soups and Cheerios cereal reported net income of $444.8 million, or 67 cents per share, for the second quarter ended on November 27, down from $613.9 million, or 92 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding the effects of accounting for commodity hedges, costs from the acquisition of Yoplait and a tax benefit, earnings were 76 cents per share.

On that basis, analysts on average were expecting 79 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose 14 percent to $4.62 billion, helped by the addition of Yoplait, increases in price and volume, and foreign exchange rates.

The company affirmed its forecast for fiscal 2012, saying it still expects earnings of $2.59 to $2.61 per share, excluding items.

(Reporting By Martinne Geller in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)