US spice maker McCormick & Co. today (24 March) said that its first-quarter profits grew on the back of its acquisition of Lawry’s and the increasing trend for consumers to cook at home.

The spices and seasonings group posted net income of US$57.7m, or $0.44 cents per share, up from $51.4m, or $0.39 cents per share, a year earlier.

Chief executive Alan Wilson said that the gain was the consequence of the company’s 2008 acquisition of Lawry’s and of US shoppers increasingly eating in.

“We are continuing to shift our marketing emphasis toward those products that offer value and convenience as consumers eat more meals at home,” Wilson said.

For the three months ended 28 February, sales dipped 1% to $728.5m, down from $724m last year.

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Sales were dented by currency exchange and the strength of the US dollar. On a constant currency basis, sales grew 7% year-on-year.

McCormick also maintained its full-year earnings forecast range of $2.24 to $2.28  for the full year.

However, the group warned that sales would likely come in at the lower end of its previous outlook.