Higher soybean, wheat and corn costs have led to deeper losses at US fruit and veg group Vaughan Foods.

The Oklahoma-based firm said yesterday (19 March) that “dramatic increases” in fuel and input costs meant its net loss grew from US$900,000m in 2007 to $3.4m in 2008.

Sales rose 37% to $91.9m, buoyed by the 2007 acquisition of Allison’s Gourmet Kitchen. On an organic basis, revenues were up 21%.

Chairman and CEO Herb Grimes said there had been “a perfect storm” of input costs in 2008. “All major costs went the wrong direction – due almost entirely to external factors outside our control.”

However, Grimes admitted: “We did not react as well as we could have to these factors.”

Grimes also said that Vaughan was “playing catch-up” in commodity costs despite them moderating, although it expects price increases to mean 2009 will be “a stronger year” than 2008.

“During 2009, we expect that our average revenue per pound of product sold will benefit from the full-year effects of our 2008 pricing adjustments,” Grimes said.