Healthy snacks drive Kerry Group's volume sales

Kerry Group's Fire & Smoke meat brand performed well in the UK

Ireland-based food giant Kerry Group reported volume growth across the board as demand for healthy snacks, including meat, drove sales at a time when consumer spending is tight.

The multinational food business said volumes increased by 3.8% in the first quarter of 2017, which runs from 1 January to 31 March.

Kerry Group, which manufactures chilled meat and dairy brands, food ingredients and drinks, said the results reaffirmed a belief for both revenue and earnings per share growth this year.

With consumer spending said to be tightening in many of Kerry’s markets, the business said health-conscious consumer trends continued to be an impetus to developing clean-label food products. Fuelled by demand for reduced sugar, salt or artificial flavourings, Kerry claimed to have a “strong innovation pipeline”. It did not disclose any in-the-making food products, citing commercial sensitivities.

Momentum

Meat snacks brand Mattessons maintained good growth, despite challenges in the UK sausage market. The Fire & Smoke cooked meat brand performed well in the UK too.

Outgoing chief executive Stan McCarthy, who will retire in September, said the business maintained momentum from 2016.

“The group expects to achieve good revenue growth and 5% to 9% growth in adjusted earnings per share in 2017, as previously guided,” he added.

Kerry’s global Taste and Nutrition business, which span the Americas, Europe, the Middle East & Africa (EMEA), and Asia-Pacific, delivered a 4.1% increase in volume.
 
Thanks to its acquisition of US-based meat company Red Arrow, Kerry’s Smoke & Grill recorded good growth for meat.

In EMEA, it was a similar story; the meat sector drove momentum, particularly through foodservice, channels with Kerry Group’s overall volume sales rising by 1.9% in the region.
 
Asia-Pacific saw volumes rising by 10.4%, although meat played a smaller role, with beverages and nutritional applications providing solid growth in countries such as China. Kerry, like many other food companies, is targeting growth in Asia and has commissioned two new factories in Batangas, the Philippines and Cikarang, Indonesia. A factory in India to support clean-label technology is also in the pipeline.

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