Lancaster Colony posted an 8% rise in net sales for its first quarter on the back of growth in the company's specialty foods sector.

For the period to 30 September, net sales reached US$264m from first quarter sales of $244m last year.

Specialty Foods net sales totalled $220.8m, up 19% from the year-ago, reflecting higher volumes and pricing.

Net income totalled $11m versus $15.5m in the year-ago first quarter, which included the results of discontinued operations.

"We were generally pleased with our specialty foods performance given substantially higher material costs," said John Gerlach chairman and CEO of Lancaster Colony. "Our many strong market positions, seasoned executive teams and solid balance sheet provide the necessary foundation to take advantage of arising opportunities."