AUSTIN, MINN. — Stronger meat and turkey product sales helped propel a 34% increase in earnings at Hormel Foods Corp. during the first quarter ended Jan. 30. The company announced earnings of $148,826,000, equal to 56c per share on the common stock, which compared with earnings of $111,207,000, or 42c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were $1,921,558,000, up 11% from $1,727,447,000 during the same quarter of the previous year.

Hormel’s Refrigerated Foods segment reported operating profit 37% greater than last year, as favorable spreads between hog costs and primal values benefitted the segment. Sales grew 13% during the quarter, featuring higher sales of Hormel party trays, Hormel pepperoni, Hormel refrigerated entrees, Hormel Always Tender flavored meats, and aided by the inclusion of Hormel Country Crock side dishes.

Jennie-O Turkey Store experienced a positive quarter, with segment operating profit up 122%. Better commodity meat prices and improved efficiencies in the supply chain and operations helped drive results. Sales grew 14% for this segment with increased commodity meat and value-added sales, featuring increased sales of Jennie-O Turkey Store turkey burgers, turkey bacon and fresh tray pack items.

However, the Grocery Products segment operating profit declined 10%, due primarily to higher raw material costs. Sales grew 6%, led by higher sales of the SPAM family of products, Hormel chili, Hormel flavored bits and Hormel Mary Kitchen hash, and strong sales growth of the MegaMex Foods franchise.

“Due to our strong results in the first quarter, we are raising our full year guidance range from $1.55 to $1.60 per share to $1.62 to $1.68 per share,” said Jeffrey Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and CEO. “We expect to see higher input costs the balance of the year, and our team will continue to tackle the challenge of offsetting these added costs with pricing and efficiency gains.”