Beyond fruit: New Del Monte products add meat

by Monica Watrous
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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 CEO, 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,” 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 percent 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 percent from $62 million, or $1.10 per share, in the comparable quarter. Net sales for the period rose 10 percent to $1,131.3 million from $1,023.9 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,” Abu-Ghazaleh said.
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