Kerry Group has reported 'good business momentum' through the first quarter.
According to its latest financial report for the first quarter ended 31 March 2021, the company saw a 1.9% business volume growth.
Edmond Scanlon, chief executive officer said, “We saw significant variability and highly dynamic market conditions right across our end use markets, channels and regions. Against this backdrop, I am very pleased with the business momentum we saw as we moved through the quarter."
Markets and Performance
Market conditions remain highly variable as differences in recovery paths are emerging across regions, the company said.
A number of countries are seeing increased mobility, substantial reopening activity and increased consumer confidence, while others continue to adapt to changing local conditions, it added.
Against this backdrop, the needs of customers and consumers continue to evolve at pace across its marketplace.
Global markets have seen at-home consumption remain elevated with an evolution in work practices and daily routines.
The company noted that overall recovery in the foodservice channel slowed in the period before showing good signs of recovery as many countries advanced their vaccine roll-out programmes.
According to Kerry Group, prevailing trends include a demand for health and immunity enhancement, plant protein options, and products addressing a diverse range of sustainability criteria.
The Europe region delivered overall growth in the retail channel against strong prior year comparatives.
This was led by a very strong performance in Kerry’s Meat EUM, with significant new launch activity in meat-free categories and good growth in meat systems, the company said.
Growth in the Dairy EUM in the region was led by innovations within ice cream.
In the period, the foodservice channel saw dine-in restaurants in many markets closed or operating at reduced capacity as a result of increased restrictions across the region. Russia and Eastern Europe delivered a good performance, led by Snacks and Meat EUMs, it added.
In the period the group announced its intention to acquire the Spanish company Biosearch Life.
This acquisition is expected to finalise in the second quarter of the year.
"Our performance reflected sustained strong growth in the retail channel, while the foodservice channel continued to be impacted by increased restrictions in many local markets, before returning to growth in March. APMEA delivered strong growth throughout the period, Europe was impacted across the region, while the Americas had a strong finish to the quarter," Scanlon said.
"The good business momentum has been supported by an increase in the level of innovation in a number of key markets. This momentum combined with an overall improvement in market conditions gives us increased confidence in the full year outlook, where we are expecting to achieve strong volume growth and are guiding adjusted earnings per share growth of 11 – 15% in constant currency,” he added.
Growth in the division reflected a strong underlying performance given an estimated 3% customer stocking benefit in the previous quarter, Kerry Group said.
This was driven by strong growth in snacking primarily through the Fridge Raiders range, with Cheestrings delivering a solid performance given school closures, while Oakhouse Foods continued to have excellent growth in the period, the company added.