US spice maker McCormick has reported flat first-quarter operating profit as high input costs offset sales gains.

The company said operating profit dipped slightly, falling to US$112m in the quarter from $122.5m in the comparable period of last year. Operating profit was hit by higher input costs, which were offset by sales gains and productivity initiatives.

Net profit was slightly up year-on-year, rising to $76m from $74.5m last year. The bottom line was boosted by slightly lower tax costs and a minor increase in earnings from unconsolidated operations.

Total sales increased 3% to $934m. Gains were driven by a 7% increase in revenue generated in the group’s consumer business thanks to improvements in the product mix. McCormick also saw a 14% increase in sales from its consumer business in emerging markets.

Looking to the remainder of the year, McCormick reaffirmed its outlook of sales growth of 3-5% and EPS of $3.15-3.23.