TRALEE, IRELAND — Fermented ingredients and plant-based proteins led growth in the Americas region of Kerry Group’s Taste & Nutrition business in the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2017.

Sales revenue in the Americas region increased by 3.5% to €2,678 million ($3,296 million), reflecting volume growth of 3.3%, a net pricing increase of 1.3%, business acquisitions of 0.4% and an adverse translation currency impact of 1.5%.

“Clean label and elevated taste requirements were to the fore in driving innovation across American end-use markets in 2017,” Kerry said on Feb. 20 when giving a preliminary statement on fiscal-year results. “Center-of-store branded offerings continued to be adversely impacted by consumer trends in North America, but demand for health and wellness, natural, organic, non-G.M.O., meat-free snacking lines and natural food preservation led to strong development and innovation opportunities throughout food and beverage categories across retail and food service channels.”

The North American meat sector continued to provide growth opportunities for Kerry’s clean label and authentic taste technologies. The year saw an increased focus on plant-based proteins and premium meat alternatives as providers in the food service channel launched vegan and meat alternative menu options.

Kerry’s fermented ingredients technologies recorded strong growth in the North American meat and bakery sectors. Introducing gluten-free, organic and non-G.M.O. lines to the portfolio contributed to the growth. A $28 million expansion at a facility in Rochester, Minn., advanced significantly to increase manufacturing capacity of naturally derived fermented ingredients.

Kerry’s TasteSense sugar reduction technology received U.S. regulatory approval in October. The approval should assist the soft drinks sector. The ready-to-drink coffee sector in North America, which includes Kerry’s cold-brew technology, achieved strong growth.

Globally, Kerry’s Taste & Nutrition business reported revenue of €5,159 million ($6,351 million), up 5.7% from the previous year behind volume growth of 4.7%. Trading profit of €767 million ($944 million) was up 7%. Kerry’s Consumer Foods business in the fiscal year reported revenue of €1,331 million as volume growth increased 2.4%. Trading profit of €108 million was down 8%.

Tralee-based Kerry Group overall reported revenue of €6,407.9 million, up 4.5% from €6,130.6 million in the previous year. Trading profit increased 4.2% to €781.3 million from €749.6 million. Adjusted earnings after taxation were €601.9 million, up 6% from €569.1 million. MBN