US consumer group Lancaster Colony has seen annual profits slide on the back of mounting costs and a loss from the sale of its automotive operations.

The company, which makes foods including salad dressings and pies, booked underlying operating profit of $64.9m for the 12 months to the end of June. That compared to profit of $84.4m a year earlier.

Net sales inched up 2% to $1.1bn thanks to rising speciality food sales, the company said.

Chairman and CEO John Gerlach, Jr. said the company had spent the last year reshaping the business to focus more on food.

He added: "Our food group faced sharply escalating raw-material costs, while certain retail pricing increases were implemented after July 1. Our review of strategic alternatives for non-food businesses continued as we divested additional automotive operations and moved forward with the process of closing our industrial glass operation."

Gerlach said prices rises among its speciality food brands should help offset rising raw material costs, while the company's acquisition of the Marshall biscuit business gave it "exciting product development opportunities".