Switzerland-based baker Aryzta today (29 November) posted a fall in underlying first-quarter revenue from its core food business – but said sales were improving thanks to the company’s focus on value.

Aryzta booked a 1.7% drop in underlying food revenue for the 13 weeks to 30 October, although the performance indicated sales were on the mend. In September, Aryzta reported a 6.7% fall in underlying food sales for the year to the end of July.

CEO Owen Killian said: “Underlying revenue decline moderated in the period to 1.7% because of the group’s continuing focus on product innovation and customer support.

“Servicing the needs of economically hard-pressed consumers requires an even greater investment in product selection and availability. Aryzta is well-positioned to support our customers in responding to this challenge.”

Underlying sales including Aryzta’s stake in agribusiness Origin Enterprises dipped 0.2%. On Friday, Origin completed its move to spin off its consumer food business in Ireland to focus on farming.

Origin, in which Aryzta owns a 71% stake, has teamed up with private-equity firm CapVest to create Valeo Foods Group, a business that will own brands like Odlums and Shamrock baking ingredients.

Origin will take a 45% stake in Valeo, while private-equity firm CapVest will control the rest of the business.

On a reported basis, Aryzta booked a 33.2% increase in group revenue to EUR970.8m (US$1.29bn). Revenue from Aryzta’s core food business was up 55.1% at EUR631.9m, driven by the company’s recent acquisitions, including two US firms – Fresh Start Bakeries and Great Kitchens.

Shares in Aryzta were up 6.2% at CHF42.80 at 10:05 CET.