Heinz has today (21 August) booked an 11.5% jump in first-quarter profits on the back of rising volumes, as well as price hikes.

The US-based food giant posted net income of US$229m for the three months to 30 July, up from $205.3m a year earlier.

Operating income was up 7% to $392m as the company saw double-digit sales growth across its regions. Turnover was up 14.9% to $2.6bn; on an organic basis, Heinz said sales grew by a record 10%.

The results have led Heinz to raise its forecast for earnings per share across the full year. The company said it expects its fiscal 2009 earnings per share to be "in the upper half" of its previously-announced range of $2.83-2.91 and is targeted to reach $2.87-2.91.

Heinz chairman, president and CEO William Johnson said: "Heinz is on-track to deliver another year of impressive growth."

Sales of the company's top 15 brands, which include its namesake ketchup and Ore-Ida frozen potatoes, grew by 16.6% during the quarter.

On a geographic basis, sales from its consumer products business in North America, which accounts for just under 29% of turnover, climbed almost 12%, driven by Ore-Ida and the Smart Ones ready meals range. The jump in sales led to operating income from the business rising by 10%.

In Europe, a continent that accounts for over 35% of turnover, sales were up 20%, thanks in part to exchange rate fluctuations, as well as price hikes and a 6.4% rise in volumes. Operating income in the region rose 13%.

In Asia-Pacific, sales climbed 23% thanks to a 10% rise in volumes. Price increases further boosted sales and helped offset rising commodity and fuel costs. Operating income jumped 30%.

Sales from Heinz's rest of the world unit, which includes Latin America and the Middle East, jumped 36%, again thanks to a mix of higher volumes and prices. Operating income increased by 25%.