Kraft Heinz today (3 May) reported first-quarter sales and earnings that were down year-on-year and which missed analyst expectations.

Kraft Heinz Q1 group results

Source: Kraft Heinz SEC filings

The baby food-to-baked beans maker booked net sales of US$6.36bn for the three months to 1 April, down 3.1% on a year earlier. The consensus forecast among analysts following Kraft Heinz was for a fall in net sales of 1.8%.

Kraft Heinz's operating income stood at $1.55bn, up from the $1.51bn it generated in the first quarter of 2016.

Higher interest costs meant Kraft Heinz's net income dipped from $896m a year ago to $893m.

The ketchup maker's adjusted EBITDA, which excludes factors including restructuring costs, impairment charges and foreign exchange, fell 3.4% to $1.86bn. Kraft Heinz pointed to falling sales in the US and Canada and "business investments" in its Rest of World division, which takes in Latin America, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

Kraft Heinz Q1 organic sales

Source: Kraft Heinz SEC filings

With the merger of the former Kraft Foods Group and HJ Heinz announced in March 2015 and completed during that summer, we only present two figures here - and the result for the first quarter of 2016 was announced pro-forma.

The 1.1% pro-forma growth Kraft Heinz reported in its results for the first quarter of 2016 has switched to a 2.7% decline for the opening three months of 2017.

Kraft Heinz said price increases, notably in its Rest of World division, boosted the result by one percentage point; volume/mix fell by 3.7 points amid declines in North America.

Analysts at Barclays had forecast Kraft Heinz's organic net sales would decline 1.8%, so the result will likely prompt questions when the company discusses its results with Wall Street.

Kraft Heinz Q1 net sales by region

Source: Kraft Heinz SEC filings

Declining sales in the US, Canada and Europe weighed on Kraft Heinz's top-line performance in the first quarter.

In the US, Kraft Heinz's largest region by net sales, the company saw its net sales fall 3.5% on an organic basis.

The company is not alone in finding the going tough in the US - as Mondelez International's results indicated yesterday. Kraft Heinz reported a 4.2% fall in its volume/mix in North America, citing "a combination of consumption weakness across categories, primarily driven by calendar shifts, as well as select distribution losses in the club channel".

In Canada, Kraft Heinz's organic net sales slumped by almost 15%. The company said the results primarily reflected the "later implementation of go-to-market agreements with key retailers". Volumes fell nearly 14% amid reduced in-store activity and decisions to no longer sell certain products, with cheese and coffee "most affected", Kraft Heinz said.

Kraft Heinz's sales in Europe were affected by changes in exchange rates, with forex accounting for 6.6 percentage points of the 6.8% decline in organic sales. The company eked growth of 0.2 points in volume/mix, with growth in condiments and sauces in the UK.

The Rest of World business reported an 8.1% increase in net sales on an organic basis. Price increases contributed 5.1 points of that growth. Volume/mix rose by three percentage points, with Kraft Heinz citing "favourable holiday-related shipment timing in Indonesia, ongoing growth in China, as well as continued growth in condiments and sauces in Latin America".