Kellogg has lifted its published forecasts for annual sales and profits after enjoying a “strong” first quarter of 2021.

The Special K cereal and Pringles snacks owner now sees its sales on an organic basis this year being “approximately flat” on 2020, a prediction that is an improvement on its previous forecast of a decline of around 1%.

Kellogg also provides the market with forecasts for growth in “currency-neutral adjusted operating profit” and in “currency-neutral adjusted earnings per share”. The US giant sees the former now falling by around 1-2% in 2021, versus its previous estimate of a decline of approximately 2%. For the earnings per share metric, Kellogg issued a new forecast of growth of around 1-2%, compared to its earlier estimate of a 1% rise.

Pre-market in New York, Kellogg’s shares were up 3.6% at US$65.34.

In the first quarter of Kellogg’s financial year, the company’s net sales rose 5.1% to $3.58bn. On an organic basis, net sales were up 4.2% at $3.56bn. Operating profit rose 2.7% to $472m, or by 13.3% on an adjusted basis. Stripping out the impact of exchange rates, adjusted operating profit increased 11.5%.

Kellogg said its first-quarter net income was $368m, versus $347m in the first quarter of its previous financial year.

“Amidst continued difficult circumstances, our organisation executed exceptionally well in the first quarter and delivered very good results, both financially and in-market,” chairman and CEO Steve Cahillane said. “The quarter featured continued momentum in major brands and categories, accelerated growth in emerging markets and effective management of cost pressures through productivity and revenue growth management.”