US food giant ConAgra Foods has cut its fiscal first-quarter forecast as a result of lower-than-planned profits from its consumer foods business.

The company said earnings are expected to be slightly below the previously-announced estimate of US$0.26-$0.28 per diluted share.

ConAgra said operating profit from its consumer foods segment will be below prior-year first-quarter amounts. Key areas of underperformance were cooking oils, tablespreads, banquet frozen foods and popcorn.

However, the company said that its supply chain and SG&A savings initiatives are on track against full-year targets. Sales and profits for the commercial foods segment (formerly the Food & Ingredients segment) were in line with company expectations.

Shares yesterday were up $0.19 to $21.46.

A full fiscal 2009 update is expected when ConAgra issues its first-quarter results on 18 September.