ConAgra Foods, the US food group, today (21 September) trimmed its full-year earnings target after seeing profits fall in the first quarter of its fiscal year.

The company, which makes brands including Hunt’s canned tomatoes and Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn, said it now sees its full-year diluted earnings per share, excluding one-off items, growing by 5-7% – compared to a June forecast of 8-10% growth.

ConAgra’s diluted EPS from continuing operations, adjusted for one-off items, for the first quarter hit US$0.34, down 11%.

Net income for the 13 weeks to 29 August stood at $146.4, a fall of 11.8% on a year earlier.

The group’s operating profit dropped 15.2% to $325.8m. ConAgra’s consumer foods business, which accounts for around two-thirds of operating profit and sales, saw its operating profit fall 14.4% to $214m. Operating profit from ConAgra’s commercial foods division slid 16.6% to $111.8m.

ConAgra’s consumer sales dipped 1.9% to $1.82bn; the company’s sales from its commercial division fell 3.2% to $993.4m.

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CEO Gary Rodkin said: “Our fiscal first-quarter margins and EPS were lower than planned because of an intense promotional environment and inflation that outpaced cost savings. There were, however, several signs of strength in terms of market share and brand sales, demonstrating progress and growth potential for important parts of our portfolio.”

For the full earnings statement from ConAgra, click here. Click here for our coverage of the company’s conference call with analysts.