CINCINNATI – Net sales climbed into the record books at AdvancePierre Foods (APF) Inc. The company reported record 2014 net sales of about $1.6 billion.

Products on the market for less than two years contributed more than 11 percent to APF's sales for the year, the company noted. The company credited the performance to product innovations and significant reformulations of existing offerings.

“The food industry is evolving, and companies have had to keep pace with rapidly changing trends and record protein inflation in the context of changing guidelines in a highly regulated business environment,” noted John Simons, APF president and CEO. “By focusing on the variables that we can control – delighting our customers through superior service and great-tasting food solutions – AdvancePierre has increased volume and margins in what has been a difficult year for the industry. Our growth will continue in 2015 with unwavering commitment to our customers and through the pursuit of other strategic opportunities including acquisitions.”

Also delivering strong performance was the company's sandwich business. APF expanded its sandwich production by 25 percent in 2014. The company produces 2 million sandwiches per day. Products include branded and private-label offerings in the retail and convenience segments.

“Our full-service sandwich capabilities are a clear point of difference for APF, and we’re excited to pursue aggressive growth opportunities to continue the momentum and leadership position we’ve established in this category,” Simons said.

The company expects the positive momentum generated in 2014 to continue in the New Year. Growth opportunities for 2015 include APF's sandwich products. The company said hiring has started at multiple manufacturing facilities in the Midwest to support APF's sandwich and protein operations.

“Our year-over-year increase in net sales was carried by a 2014 second-half performance that achieved 15 percent growth,” Simons noted. “Our efforts and foundational work throughout the year have positioned us for continued success.” APF currently is hiring at multiple Midwest manufacturing facilities to support its sandwich and protein operations.”

Based in Cincinnati, AdvancePierre Foods offers a broad line of packaged sandwiches; fully cooked beef, chicken, and pork products; uncooked meat items such as Philly-style steak, breaded beef and stuffed chicken entrees; and bakery products. The company employs more than 4,000 workers.