US food company Birds Eye Foods has posted higher quarterly net income, driven mainly by a decline in interest expense.

The company reported net income of US$8.0m for the third quarter to 27 March, compared to $3.8m in the third quarter of fiscal 2003.

Net sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2004 were approximately $206.3m, a decrease of 2.2% from $210.9m a year earlier. While net sales of the company’s branded frozen segment were consistent with that of the prior year, modest declines within the non-branded business and other categories accounted for the decline in net sales.

“While our ongoing operating businesses are improving, we continue to face challenges from escalating commodity markets,” said CEO Dennis Mullen.

“Our focus has been to emphasise our new product development efforts and we have recently launched several reduced carbohydrate and reformulated flavours of Birds Eye Voila!,” Mullen added.