Kraft Foods has seen quarterly profits tumble as the company experienced tough trading conditions in core categories including cheese and salad dressing.

Kraft, the largest food producer in the US, said yesterday (18 April) that net profit fell 30% to US$702m during the three months to the end of March.

Revenue rose 5.7% to $8.6bn during the first quarter, Kraft's last under the control of Altria Group.

Chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld admitted that the first quarter had been "an eventful one". Rosenfeld said: "We still face many challenges. We expect to see further progress, particularly in the second half of the year, as we set the stage for Kraft's return to consistent growth."

Sales from Kraft's cheese and foodservice business in North America inched up 0.5% on an organic basis. Turnover from its convenient meals division rose almost 5%.

Kraft said, however, that sales from its grocery business in North America were flat during the quarter due to falling sales from its salad dressings.

In Europe, Kraft saw revenue rise almost 3% thanks to strong chocolate sales. In the company's developing markets in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, Kraft saw sales rise 9%.