Monterey Gourmet sees 10% sales growth in Q1

by Eric Schroeder
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SALINAS, CALIF. — Monterey Gourmet Foods said its first-quarter sales should increase approximately 10% over the same quarter in 2006.

"We are encouraged with the direction of our first quarter," said Eric Eddings, president and chief executive officer. "Our preliminary indications show that sales grew by double digits and our net income grew by triple digits when compared to the first quarter of 2006. We continue to make process improvements and introduce innovative products, some of which were delayed into the second quarter."

During the first quarter, Monterey Gourmet underwent several changes, including a new organizational structure. Dan Brown, the company’s vice-president of operations, added the responsibility for all three of Monterey Gourmet’s manufacturing plants.

The company also streamlined its human resources department, dedicating key support to coaching and compliance. Monterey Gourmet added a new manager within human resources who is responsible for recruiting as well as training and coaching employees.

New products also took center stage during the quarter, Mr. Eddings said.

"We have recently received new orders for our new Tuscan Bean spreads, which will be produced in our Seattle facility," he said. "Our Sonoma Blue Jack, a sliceable Sonoma Jack Cheese with the flavor profile of a traditional Blue Cheese, has been introduced and is currently receiving orders. In addition, our Casual Gourmet sausage line has been revitalized and is quickly securing distribution four times greater than prior year. With the efforts of our new sales structure, new and existing items will give us more than 2,000 new points of distribution in the marketplace."

Mr. Eddings said the company is introducing a new line of authentic Classic Italian Pastas with simple ingredient statements, minimal cook times, and a new innovation in dough "that will bring renewed excitement to the fresh pasta category." The first of several new items in this line, Chicken and Lemon Borsellini, will ship within the next few weeks.

"While we still have challenges ahead, we believe our recent achievements validate our strategy and will lead us to future success," Mr. Eddings said.

Full financial results will be released on May 8.

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