On today's call, led by new CEO Brendan Foley, the company exuded confidence in their broad-based growth across their Consumer and Flavor Solutions segments despite slower economic recovery in China. Impressive sales growth of 6% in constant currency was driven by an 8% increase from pricing actions, counterbalanced by a 2% decrease in volume and product mix. The reduction in volume mainly stemmed from less than projected recovery in China and strategic portfolio optimization including divestitures and market exits, like Kitchen Basics and Russia. Nevertheless, Foley underlined the sequential volume improvement sans China, indicating strong underlying momentum.
Innovative partnerships and product launch initiatives have been keys to geographical growth, with Cholula enlivening third-quarter growth and a promising alliance with Nadiya Hussain in the EMEA for new seasoning ranges. Moreover, creative brand campaigns like the French's mustard-flavored SKITTLES collaboration brought 5 billion impressions, showcasing the strength and popularity of the brand.
The company highlighted portfolio optimization efforts, such as the divestiture of Kitchen Basics and strategic exits, to enhance margins. While operating income from Consumer segments was impacted by China's slow recovery and increased SG&A due to incentive compensation and marketing investments, the Flavor Solutions segment celebrated a significant 42% jump in adjusted operating income. Major cost savings from CCI and GOE programs and strong pricing recovery played pivotal roles in offsetting inflationary pressures and driving a sizable gross margin improvement.
Cash flow from operations soared 164% year-to-date, propelled by surging operating income and capital management, enabling $314 million in shareholder dividends. Future cash is earmarked for growth, dividends, and debt reduction. The updated 2023 financial outlook, reaffirmed despite China's slow recovery, anticipates mid-range 5% to 7% top-line growth. Adjusted operating income is slated for 10% to 12% growth despite higher interest expenses and an adjusted effective tax rate of approximately 22%. The ongoing commitment to bolstering brand marketing, achieving $85 million in CCI-led cost savings, the de-levering to approximately 3 times earlier than anticipated in 2024, and a projected income rise from unconsolidated operations, all reflect a calculated strategy to navigate today's fluctuating financial climate.