Birds Eye gaining share
For the Birds Eye Frozen segment, net sales increased 8% to $317.9 million, reflecting a 5.2% benefit in the Gardein acquisition, increased volume/mix of 1.8% and higher net price realization of 1%. The earlier timing of Easter benefited first-quarter net sales comparison by about 2%.
Continued strength of the Birds Eye vegetables and Birds Eye Voila! skillet meals and growth of Mrs. Paul’s and Van de Kamp’s frozen prepared seafood drove sales growth in the quarter.
EBIT for the segment declined 7.4% to $43.3 million, driven by input costs and higher marketing investment.
Pinnacle is gaining share for the Birds Eye brand with new innovation, including two platforms launched in April. Birds Eye Flavorful pairs popular vegetables with on-trend flavors, such as buffalo, teriyaki and barbecue. Birds Eye Protein Blends are side dishes featuring plant-based protein from vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
“Both of these new platforms have been met with extremely strong acceptance by retailers and we are expecting a similar response from consumers,” Mr. Gamgort said.
For the Specialty Foods segment, net sales increased 1.6% to $86.2 million, driven by higher net price realization of 1.1% and higher volume/mix of 0.5% due to higher sales of private label canned meat.
EBIT for the segment advanced 8.9% to $7.7 million, reflecting benefits of net sales growth and lower intangible amortization, which was partially offset by higher logistics costs.For 2015, the company continues to expect growth of 7% to 10% in diluted earnings per share.