The first concerns a joint infant nutrition venture with Dutch fats and oils supplier IOI Loders Croklaan to market its Betapol, which is used in baby milk globally.
Agreement had also been reached to acquire US-based Insight Beverages, a leading supplier of bespoke beverage solutions, it said.
Insight Beverages’ portfolio includes cocoa and coffee speciality offerings, fruit-flavoured beverages, and functional beverages offered to the foodservice and convenience store channels in the US. The acquisition is expected to complete by the end of May.
Ready meals and snacks
Reporting on overall results for its first financial quarter in 2015, Kerry Foods said sales of ready meals and snacks had boosted its performance.
The company said good performance in its meal solutions helped it overcome competitive pressure as a result of continuing structural change in the UK and Irish retail markets.
“In the meal solutions sector, Kerry Foods achieved a strong performance in its chilled ready meals accounts in the quarter,” the business said. “Volumes also increased in the frozen meals market.”
It had also delivered good results in several areas of snacking, it said. For example, it reported that its Mattessons Fridge Raiders had maintained good growth in the meat snacking sector and that its Cheestrings brand continued to broaden its geographic market reach in mainland Europe.
“The ‘Yollies’ children’s yogurt snack introduced to the Irish and UK markets during 2014 continues to achieve encouraging market penetration,” it added.
Kerry Foods’s Denny Gold Medal sausage brand and its Charleville cheese brand had also been strong performers during the quarter, it said.
However, there had been some speed bumps during the period. Cut-price retail promotions had hit sales in the UK sausage market and its retailers’ own-label dairy spreads business had been hit by heavily promoted branded butter offerings, it said.
In ingredients, Kerry Foods drove up volume sales by 0.6% in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region compared to the same quarter of 2014, with dairy ingredients performing particularly well.
“Sales in the meat sector were lower except in eastern Europe,” it added. “Sweet applications grew satisfactorily in the ice cream and bakery sectors. Beverage systems and flavours maintained positive business development momentum.”
In the quarter to March 31, volume sales of ingredients and flavours grew by 2.9%, while volumes of consumer foods rose by 1.4% over the same period in 2014. Group volume sales increased by 2.5%, Kerry Foods said.