Island Oasis drink mixes
Island Oasis — a business Kerry acquired last year — significantly broadened the company’s offerings and applications in the food service and convenience channels.

DUBLIN, IRELAND — The Americas region of The Kerry Group P.L.C. delivered 3.1% business volume growth in the first quarter ended March 31, as taste technologies benefited from a strong innovation pipeline and acquired businesses in 2015.

Red Arrow Products, which was acquired in December 2015, provided a boost to growth in the meat and savory products sector, Kerry said, especially in North America. Meanwhile, KFI Savory helped drive performance in the culinary systems sector.

“Demand for authentic savory ingredients and clean label technologies contributed to good growth in the prepared meals sector,” Kerry said. “The savory snack sector exhibited good growth opportunities, particularly in Mexico and Central American markets. Costa Rican-based Baltimore Spice assisted development in the Caribbean and Central American markets.”

Kerry Group said market conditions in Brazil remain challenging due to the inflationary environment, but the company said it still achieved sustained growth in the food service sector through taste technologies and sauce systems.

Additionally, Kerry maintained good growth in the beverage sector behind innovative solutions for the fast-growing flavored spirits and craft beer segments, as well as the group’s “Crystals” all-natural flavor technology that drove strong growth in the soft drinks sector.

Island Oasis and Insight Beverages — two businesses Kerry acquired last year — significantly broadened the company’s offerings and applications in the food service and convenience channels.

“Demand for clean label preservation systems and extended shelf-life products continued to provide good growth opportunities in the bakery sector,” Kerry Group said.

In an April 27 conference call with analysts, Brian Mehigan, chief financial officer of Kerry Group, said the pipeline in North America continues to be strong.

Brian Mehigan, Kerry Group
Brian Mehigan, c.f.o. of Kerry Group

“The work we’re doing in terms of the taste, particularly into the beverage sector, we continue to deliver good growth in the whole savory meals, appetizers, into the meat sector, with clean label. And the combination of the desire at consumer level for more healthy, more nutritious, but taste being a key differentiator all the time. The repositioning of products from the center of the store to the periphery in terms of more natural, more home cupboard style, is really driving the innovation pipeline there, so very positive about that.”

Group-wide business volumes at Kerry Group increased by 2.9%, while net pricing eased 1.5% in the first quarter in line with lower input pricing. Reported revenues increased by 0.9%, reflecting the business volume growth, lower pricing, a currency translation headwind of 2.3% and the effect of acquisitions net of disposals of 1.9%, Kerry Group said.