And the company did so despite fears that a U.S. pork supply constriction -- the result of a virus plaguing the nation's hog farms -- could gum up its profits.
"It was a pretty good quarter for them," said
The virus, called porcine epidemic diarrhea, has been sweeping through the nation's farms this year, killing piglets at an alarming rate. While it poses no threat to human health, the virus has threatened to pinch hog supplies, sending prices soaring.
Yet Hormel was able to offset any higher hog prices by essentially raising prices on its bevy of branded pork products at a time when consumer demand is high, said
For the three months ended
"This was a solid quarter compared to what a lot of other food companies are posting," Yarbrough said. "The
Hormel's stock closed Thursday at
Profit doubled at Hormel's biggest business line, refrigerated meats, which includes hams, bacon and other pork products. Hormel's Jennie-O turkey business also fared well in the latest period, its operating profits growing 42 percent.
"Lower feed costs and higher turkey [selling] prices has really been working out well for them," Yarbrough said.
However, Hormel's grocery products unit, which includes Spam, canned chili and Compleats microwaveable meals, took a hit during the quarter. Its operating profits dropped 36 percent. Higher ingredient costs were a key problem.
"We expect to finish fiscal 2014 within our previously stated [profit] guidance range of
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