Sales in the group’s dairy snacking segment grew by 11%, with Cheestrings and Attack a Snak responding well in response to increased marketing support and wider distribution.
Reporting on its preliminary results for the year to December 31 2017, Kerry Foods said the rebranding of its Richmond sausages had a positive effect on the UK sausage category.
The company also achieved good growth through own-label dairy products, incorporating Kerry’s spreadable butter technologies.
In chilled and frozen ready meals, the company claimed it had outperformed the market, helped by a focus on enhanced nutrition, lower calories and salt and the clean-label move away from ‘artificial’ additives.
In the group’s UK and Irish consumer foods markets, the company reported challenging trading, influenced by the weak pound, an appetite for constantly low prices rather than promotions, range simplification and investment in brands. That was offset by rising costs.
Commenting on the potential impact of Brexit, the company stated: “While the exact outcome of the UK’s exit from the EU is still unclear, our Business Brexit teams continue to work through the potential implications for Kerry.
“Sterling mitigation plans are well progressed, as the group continues to restructure less profitable businesses, execute the KerryExcel cost optimisation programme and reduce transaction currency exposure.
“Given our well-established manufacturing footprint in the UK and in the Eurozone, we are very well positioned to deal with the potential challenges and realise the opportunities that will arise.”
Recent acquisitions for the business have included UK direct-to-consumer ready meals supplier Oakside Foods in November, delivering meals that are quick and easy to prepare for elderly shoppers.
Kerry also bought Tyson Foods’ US-based Kettle Collection business in December, which produces artisan-inspired side dishes, appetisers and dips for consumer and foodservice customers. The Kettle Collection brand is available for purchase by consumers and through leading restaurant chains and food distribution companies globally.
Kerry Foods maintained a group trading margin of 12.2% on group revenue of €6.4bn (£5.7bn), reflecting business growth of 4.3%. Volume sales grew by 4.7% to €5.2bn (£4.6bn) in its Taste and Nutrition division, while volume sales in its Consumer Foods division grew by 2.4% to €1.3bn (£1.2bn).
Kerry Group ceo Edmond Scanlon said: “Kerry Group delivered strong top-line growth and sustained business development in 2017.”