Kerry's acquisition of  Red Arrow Products significantly strengthening Kerry’s taste technology and savory flavor industry leadership.

TRALEE, IRELAND — The combination of Kerry Group P.L.C.’s taste capability with its nutrition and general wellness enabling technology portfolio delivered solid growth across the company’s American food and beverage markets in 2015.

The Tralee-based company said while certain category development was held in check during the year, demand for innovation accelerated in wellness, nutrition and snacking categories.

Sales revenue in the Americas region increased by more than 21% on a reported basis to €2,308 million ($2,543 million) during 2015, reflecting 4.1% volume growth and 1.9% lower pricing. The Americas region market development was boosted in 2015 through completion of a number of strategic acquisitions.

“Kerry achieved solid growth in the North American meat sector and across American food service channels through successful deployment of Kerry taste technologies and ‘clean label’ systems,” the company said. “The breakfast meats sector provided good growth opportunities at retail and food service level, and meat snacking continued to grow across all channels. Kerry coatings, seasonings, fermented ingredient systems and smoke/grill technologies achieved strong growth based on such trends.

“KFI Savory, the U.S.-based savory flavor business of Kraft Food Ingredients acquired in June 2015, performed in line with expectations. Wynnstarr Flavors assisted performance in the North American culinary sector and recent acquisitions assisted growth in the Brazilian food service sector despite the challenging macro-economic conditions.”

Kerry also said Central American markets presented good growth opportunities. Baltimore Spice, a Costa Rican-based spices, seasonings and condiments producer with production facilities located in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Panama that was acquired in July 2015, significantly strengthened Kerry’s market positioning in the culinary and snack sectors in Central America and the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, the acquisition of Manitowoc, Wis.-based Red Arrow Products was completed in December, significantly strengthening Kerry’s taste technology and savory flavor industry leadership, the company said.

The snack bar and bagged snacks categories also continued to provide good opportunities for Kerry innovation, including application of organic certified seasonings. Kerry said savory snack applications achieved strong growth in Mexico and Central America.

Development in the bakery sector was driven by increased consumer demand for ‘free-from,’ ‘clean-label,’ convenience and tasteful products, Kerry said, enabling the company to record solid growth through its taste and nutrition technologies and gluten-free, organic and non-bioengineered lines.

Trends in international dairy markets limited development through dairy and culinary systems, but Kerry said it experienced “breakthrough innovation” in the ice cream sector through its proprietary “Rapid Fire” development process, and through smoothie and yogurt applications.

Also during 2015, Kerry continued to invest in the expansion and broadening of its beverage solutions technologies as well as the consolidation of its position as a provider of beverage solutions.

“Taste and lower calorie trends provided strong innovation opportunities in soft drinks, coffee and nutritional beverages,” Kerry said. “The fast growing ‘single-serve’ market led to increased applications in the hot beverage, soup, broth and sauce markets. Kerry’s Big Train, DaVinci Gourmet and Oregon Chai brands benefited from growing consumption of ‘out-of-home’ beverages through c-stores and specialist outlets. Extension of the Big Train range to Kerry’s branded offering in Latin American markets achieved good results. Insight Beverages, a leading U.S. based supplier of custom beverage solutions to food service and convenience store channels in North American markets, acquired in May, performed in line with expectations.”

Operating profit at Kerry Group in the fiscal year 2015 ended Dec. 31, 2015, was €672.1 million ($740.9 million), up 10% from €608.5 million in fiscal 2014. Revenue increased 6% to €6,104.9 million ($6,730.8 million) from €5,756.6 million.