J & J Snack Foods Corp., the New Jersey-based snacks and frozen beverages producer, has reported a 21% rise in first-quarter earnings, on the back of a strong performance from its food service business.

Earnings for the quarter to 24 December rose to US$3m, or 16 cents per share, from US$2.5m, or 13 cents a share, in the corresponding period a year earlier. The first-quarter figures included a stock compensation expense of US$171,000, the company said.

Operating income rose by 15% to US$4.2m. With the share-based compensation expense stripped out, the company said operating income and net earnings would have risen by 22% and 28% respectively. Turnover rose by 10% from US$98.5m to US$108.6m.

“Continued strong performance by our food service business was largely responsible for our improvement,” said J & J’s president and CEO, Gerald B. Shreiber.