General Mills Inc posted an increase in quarterly profit, helped by strong sales of higher-margin products like cereal, as well as falling commodity costs.

The maker of Cheerios cereal, Progresso soup and Yoplait yogurt said profit rose to $565.5 million, or $1.66 a share, in the second quarter ended on November 29 from $378.2 million, or $1.09 a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, earnings were $1.54 a share. Analysts on average forecast $1.45, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

General Mills, like most food companies, has benefited from cost-cutting measures and easing commodities costs, while its sales have been boosted as consumers eat at home to save money.

The company also raised its full-year earnings forecast to a range of $4.52 to $4.57 a share, excluding items. In September, it had forecast 2010 profit of $4.40 to $4.50.

(Reporting by Brad Dorfman; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)