Sweden-based cereal-to-chicken group Lantmännen today (29 April) reported a loss for the first quarter of the year as falling sales and a glass-in-chicken scare hit the business.

In March, the company’s Lantmännen Kronfågel withdrew batches of chicken products over fears that they may contain glass.

This morning, Lantmännen posted an underlying loss of SEK113m (US$14m), as sales fell by 13% to SEK8.61bn. The company booked a profit of SEK70m in the first quarter of 2008.

The glass scare and recall cost Lantmännen SEK30m during the quarter.

President and CEO Per Strömberg said the fall in sales during the quarter had been “expected” amid the global economic downturn.

Lantmännen is a conglomerate with interests in areas as diverse as construction and energy and the group’s non-food businesses have been hit by the downturn.

The company said its food business is “experiencing a noticeable lag in necessary price increases”.

The group added: “The area least affected by the global downturn is the food industry, though a protracted recession may lead to changes in consumption, where consumers are forced to be more price-conscious, for example by choosing low-price products.”