IRELAND – Kerry Group has reported 10.3% increase in revenues for the first three months of 2019, led by higher volume growth in the Taste & Nutrition division.

Consumer Foods recorded 0.8% growth in volume while trading profit increased by 10bps reflecting the impact of lower raw material prices and a favourable translation currency impact of 2.5%.

This division was boosted by “Everyday Fresh”, the Richmond brand which had solid growth particularly with chicken sausages, along with the Denny brand in Ireland.

Business growth is driven by increased focus on innovation as a result of growing demand for ‘food for life and wellbeing’, ‘new taste experiences’ and ‘made for me’ products.

The group has also reaffirmed its full-year 2019 guidance of adjusted earnings per share growth of 6 percent to 10% on a constant currency basis.

“We have made a solid start to the year with overall business performance in line with expectations,” said Edmond Scanlon, Chief Executive Officer.

“The Group continued to deliver volume growth ahead of the market while expanding trading margin.

“We are pleased with our innovation pipeline and the continued enhancement of our product mix.

Our industry-leading business model and unique taste and nutrition positioning continue to deliver significant value for our customers in meeting rapidly evolving consumer needs.

“The recently announced acquisitions have performed very well, and we are pleased with the progress made on their integration.”

Taste & Nutrition recorded volume growth of 3.8% driven by Meat, Snacks and Dairy End Use Markets (EUMs) offset by investments and Brexit risk-mitigation costs.

As a result of accelerated demand for great-tasting and nutritious products, customised solutions incorporating s fermented ingredients, broad protein portfolio, probiotics, botanicals and natural extracts led to good sales growth.

During the quarter, Foodservice grew 5.1% with a slower performance in the North American market while developing market growth continued to be strong at 9.0%, with developing APMEA being the main driver.

Kerry completed the acquisition of Southeastern Mills (SEM) during the period.

The Snacks EUM delivered good growth through healthier snacking and new world taste experiences as the evolution of the ice cream category benefited the dairy segment.

Dairy and Beverages were supported by good performance in Brazil while Mexico’s performance was led by good growth in the Snacks EUM.

Europe delivered a good performance in the quarter, led by strong growth in the Beverage EUM, as Kerry continued to support customers as they improve their product ranges.

The Meat EUM performed very well, with multi-texture coating systems delivering new sensorial taste experiences, along with further growth through “better-for-you” launches.

Good business development was also achieved in plant-based meat alternatives, as Kerry’s offering was enhanced by the recent JV with Ojah.

Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa delivered strong performance with new innovations in meat driving growth especially in China.