US food group Seneca Foods booked a first-quarter profit yesterday (6 August), citing its store-brands business as the key driver.

For the period to 27 June, net earnings reached US$11.1m compared to a loss of $2.1m in the prior year.

Net sales were also up on 2008, climbing to $230.5m from $216.7m in the same quarter last year.

"We were pleased with the strong earnings performance of the company in the first quarter as we continue to provide consumers good value for their dollar with our canned fruits and vegetables. Our store brands business remained the key driver in the growth in earnings," said Kraig Kayser, president and CEO.

Pre-tax results for three months ended 28 June 2008 included a $0.3m gain on the sale of unused equipment.