HJ Heinz has today (1 September) reported “solid” first-quarter profit growth, driven by double-digit sales growth in emerging markets and North America.

In the quarter ended 28 July, the company earned US$240m compared to $213m in the prior year, which included a net loss of $2.2m from discontinued operations.

Operating income increased 9.9% to $406m, boosted by higher sales and gross margin.

Reported sales climbed 1.6% to $2.48bn as Heinz delivered 3.6% organic sales growth across its global portfolio.

Heinz reaffirmed its previously announced outlook for fiscal 2011.

Chairman, president and CEO William Johnson said: “Heinz is off to a good start in fiscal 2011 and we remain confident about the company’s business fundamentals, despite the difficult economic climate. While we anticipate that our full-year results will be impacted by foreign currency movements, we plan to continue executing our well-established strategy to grow our core portfolio, accelerate growth in emerging markets, strengthen and leverage global scale and make talent an advantage for Heinz.”

Click here to view the full earnings release and check back later for further insight into the company’s first quarter results.