|Fresh Del Monte Produce has introduced salad bowls and snack kits containing meat and cheese.|
CORAL GABLES, FLA. — As consumers clamor for more protein, even fruit processor Fresh Del Monte Produce, Inc. has tapped into the trend. The company in July unveiled an expansion of its Nature Made brand with new single-serve salad bowls and fresh fruit and protein snack packs. Fresh Del Monte recently added protein production lines at its Dallas facility to launch the products.
“This launch allows us to roll out new protein, salad bowls, and snack offerings that include our fresh fruit and vegetables,” said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman and chief executive officer, during a July 29 call with analysts to discuss second-quarter earnings. “We believe there is tremendous potential for growth in the salad and snack space, as consumption continues to rise for fresh and healthy on-the-go meal and snack options.”
The range includes such items as salad bowls with chicken or turkey and bacon, a snack pack with turkey, cheese, grapes and crackers, and a snack pack with turkey sausage links, pancakes, apples, grapes and syrup.
Expanding into new geographies, distribution channels, and product categories helped the company achieve a double-digit increase in net sales during the company’s second quarter.
“Our second-quarter results were further enhanced by higher sales volume in all of our business segments, stronger banana pricing in our Europe and Middle East regions, along with increased demand for several of our products this quarter, particularly bananas, pineapples and avocados,” Mr. Abu-Ghazaleh said. “Our prepared food business also had better year-over-year results. During the second quarter, demand for Del Monte branded products was very strong, especially in our Middle East region, with net sales 19% higher year-over-year in this market.”
For the second quarter ended June 27, net income attributable to Fresh Del Monte was $64.3 million, equal to $1.15 per share on the common stock, up 4% from $62 million, or $1.10 per share, in the comparable quarter. Net sales for the period rose 10% to $1,131.3 million from $1,023.9 million.
In the company’s banana business segment, net sales increased 11% to $505 million, led by higher sales volume in all regions and increased selling prices in the Middle East, favorable exchange rates in Europe, increased demand and lower industry supply. Volume was 8% higher than last year’s second quarter.
In the other fresh produce business segment for the second quarter, net sales increased 8% to $518 million.
In the gold pineapple category, net sales increased 27% to $172 million, reflecting strong sales in all regions driven by higher sales volume. Volume increased 31%, as a result of increased production and higher yields from the company’s farms in Costa Rica.
Net sales in the fresh-cut category decreased nearly 9% to $107 million as a result of lower sales volume in Europe, due to a previously announced loss of business in the United Kingdom. The decrease in net sales was partially offset increased sales volume in the Middle East and Asia, plus higher pricing in Asia. Volume dropped 9%.
In the melon category, net sales increased 15% to $40 million, and volume increased 26%.
Net sales in the non-tropical category were in line with the prior-year period, driven by increased selling prices of avocado in North America and higher sales volume of apples in the Middle East that was partially offset by lower sales volume in the grape and stone fruit product lines. Total volume decreased 6%.
In the tomato category, net sales increased 34% to $33 million, and volume more than doubled, driven by Fresh Del Monte’s new operations in Florida.
Finally, in the company’s prepared food segment, net sales increased 21% to $108 million.
“I am pleased with our performance in the first part of the year and I am optimistic and hopeful about the second half of 2014,” Mr. Abu-Ghazaleh said.