Irish food company Kerry Group has posted an increase in first-half earnings and sales as it successfully hiked prices to mitigate the effect of rising food commodity costs.

Sales during the first half totalled EUR2.3bn (US$3.47bn), up 7.3% on a like-for-like basis.

The company, whose brands include Wall’s sausages, Homepride flour and Cheesestrings, said its brands benefitted from the challenging economic environment as consumers are increasingly trading down from premium.

Kerry also sells ingredients to food processors. The company said that its diverse product portfolio also helped sales and allowed it to sidestep the economic downturn.

Adjusted EPS rose to EUR0.628 per share, up from EUR0.588 per share in the first half of last year. However, Kerry’s profits before tax grew by just 0.1% to EUR132.8m.

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Kerry reaffirmed full-year EPS guidance of EUR1.51 to EUR1.55 per share.