US speciality food group Lancaster Colony has booked an increase in annual earnings and said it is “optimistic” for 2014.

Net income climbed 14% in the 12 months to the end of June to US$109.2m. Operating profit was up 13% to $161.9m, the group reported today (22 August).

Lancaster Colony said both its operating segments achieved full-year improvements in sales and operating income in the period, with recent product introductions helping to push its speciality foods sales over the $1bn mark for the first time.

Group net sales increased 3% for the year to $1.16bn.

“We are optimistic about fiscal 2014 as driven by anticipated growth in specialty foods,” said CEO John Gerlach. “This improvement is expected through added volumes from several newer retail and foodservice programmes, as well as through further market expansion of certain key product lines. We also foresee the potential for modestly favourable material cost comparisons as we move later into the fiscal year. We believe our strong and flexible balance sheet supports our future growth potential, including appropriate food-related business investments and acquisitions.”

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