Food Business News - May 15, 2018 - 24
Food Business News
increased 0.6% to $261,007,000, driven
by Vlasic pickles, Duncan Hines baking
products and Armour canned meat.
"...we remain very excited about the
Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1 innovation
that we launched in 2017 and are following
up this year with 13 additional offerings
as well as 11 varieties of our new Perfect
Size for 1 frostings and drizzles that allow
consumers to easily and fully customize
their experience across the line, something that is truly unique to this category," Mr. Clouse said. "Vlasic pickles also
performed well in the first quarter, with
consumption expanding 5.5%, driving 0.4
point of share growth. This performance
reflects the actions that we took over the
course of 2017 to refocus on the core equity
of the brand, namely the iconic stork
making crunch and zero calories relevant
to millennials through new marketing
campaigns and select new items."
A refresh of the Wish-Bone salad
dressings business is underway, he
"With new graphics on the bottles
and overall optimization of product
offerings and simpler, cleaner ingredient lines, we expect the brand to have
a very strong presence on shelf," Mr.
Clouse said. "This, coupled with targeted
on-trend marketing and a focus on our
flagship Italian varieties, we expect the
Wish-Bone story to play out in 2018,
much as the Vlasic one did in 2017, with
sequentially improving trends."
In the Boulder segment, EBIT
expanded 78% to $11,851,000, reflecting
the favorable impact of items affecting
comparability versus the prior-year period as well as productivity, partially offset
Pinnacle management is in the process of
'refreshing' its Wish-Bone salad dressing
by input cost inflation. Segment net sales
increased 0.5% to $97,756,000, as continued strength of the Gardein business and
growth of Earth Balance offset lower net
sales of Evol and Udi's products.
"End market performance for the
segment remained very strong, with
retail consumption advancing nearly
9%, led by continued growth of Gardein,
which grew consumption over 55%, and
Earth Balance, which was up 22%," Mr.
Clouse said. "This growth was partially
offset by lower consumption of Evol,
which was lapping a very strong promotional period in the previous year, and to
a lesser extent, Udi's, which is starting
to benefit from the consumer trial of the
Specialty EBIT declined 7.6% to
$8,216,000, while net sales decreased
15% to $75,198,000, due to the impact of
the Aunt Jemima exit.
"As we finish lapping the A.J. exit,
we anticipate the top line of the Specialty
segment to return to what it's been in
the past, up a little bit in some quarters,
down a little bit in others," Mr. Clouse
said. "But given the work we've done to
exit low-margin businesses over the past
year, we would expect adjusted EBIT
margins to show good growth."
Recent speculation has swirled over
a potential sale of Pinnacle Foods after investment company JANA Partners L.L.C.
took a 9.1% stake in the business. In an
April 19 filing with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission, JANA Partners
said it would like Pinnacle's board and
management team to consider evaluating
alternatives for the company, including a
sale or other consolidation opportunities.
Mr. Clouse said Pinnacle Foods has
a "variety of investor meetings set up"
following the earnings call.
"And although I don't want give the
specifics on any individual investor, but
what I'll say is we've had historically and
continue to expect to have very constructive dialogues with the JANA team," he
added. "The board and I are committed
to building value for our shareholders.
We are ... open to hearing ideas and are
happy to listen from all of our investors
but, most certainly, JANA as well. So I
think we look forward to those dialogues
in the future. But to this point, we've
been really focused on finishing out the
quarter, getting earnings ready. And
from this point now, we'll kind of pivot
as we normally do, with a pretty robust
agenda of investor meetings and a conference coming up as well." FBN
May 15, 2018