A rise in second-quarter earnings was not enough to stem a fall in half-year profits at US food group Hormel Foods.

The company said today (21 May) that net earnings for the three months to 26 April rose from US$77.6m a year ago to US$80.4m this year.

However, Hormel’s half-year net earnings fell 2.5% to US$161.8m despite a 2% rise in first-half sales to US$3.3bn.

During the second quarter, net sales inched up 0.1% to reach US$1.6bn, although volumes dipped 3%.

Nevertheless, Hormel chairman, president and CEO Jeffrey Ettinger said the company was “pleased” to report “record earnings” for the second quarter.

“Our grocery products segment again delivered increases in sales and segment profit, with strong sales of canned meats and Mexican products. Our Jennie-O Turkey Store segment continues to rebound, despite difficult market conditions, as they were faced with even lower commodity meat prices than in the first quarter,” Ettinger said.

He added: “As a result of our better-than-expected first half, we now anticipate full year results in the upper end of our previously announced guidance range of $2.15 to $2.25 per share.”