US food processor Seneca Foods remains upbeat despite recording a net loss in its first quarter.

For the quarter ended 2 July, the firm reported a net loss of US$8m compared to earnings of $5.3m a year earlier.

Sales, however, climbed 17.8% to $259.1m, driven by increased sales volumes of $42.8m but partially offset by lower selling prices and a less favourable sales mix of $3.7m.

"The strong sales can be attributed to the timing of Easter this year compared with last year, as well as customers' heavy buying ahead of announced price increases," said Seneca Foods CEO Kraig Kayser. "While disappointed in the quarterly loss, we now find ourselves in a much more balanced inventory position heading into this year's production season."

Seneca added that its possible merger with US canned vegetable maker Allens, which was announced last month, remains subject to "the negotiation and execution of a definitive agreement" between the two firms, as well as regulatory and shareholder approvals.