The chairman of HJ Heinz said the food manufacturer is “off to a good start” in fiscal 2011 and is forecasting “strong first-quarter results”.

The company is expecting more than 3% organic sales growth, almost 10% growth in operating income, 13% net income growth and operating free cash flow of US$200m, an 80% increase on the previous year.

Chairman, president and CEO William Johnson said: “Emerging markets once again are expected to drive our results, with organic sales growth of almost 22% in the quarter. We believe that our solid first quarter results put Heinz on track to deliver our financial targets for the full year, even though the consumer and economic environment remains challenging.”

He added that Heinz will “continue to explore bolt-on acquisitions like Foodstar, a leading branded manufacturer of soy sauce and fermented bean curd in China that we agreed to acquire in June”.