Hormel Foods on February 20 reported fiscal 2014 first quarter net earnings of $153.3 million, up 18 percent from the net earnings of $129.7 million recorded during the first quarter of 2013. Hormel's first quarter of fiscal year 2014 ended January 26.

Hormel Foods' diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $0.57, up 19 percent compared to the $0.48 reported for the same quarter of 2013. Sales for the quarter were $2.2 billion, up 6 percent from the same period in fiscal 2013.

"We achieved excellent results in the first quarter, posting an earnings per share increase of 19 percent over last year, with sales up 6 percent. Four of our five segments generated growth in sales and operating profits as we continue to deliver quality products with trusted brands to our customers and consumers," said Jeffrey M. Ettinger, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer.

Jennie-O Turkey Store, which accounts for 18 percent of net sales and 24 percent of the total segment operating profit, made modest gains for Hormel, with profits increasing 1 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2013.

"While our Jennie-O Turkey Store segment experienced more favorable feed costs this quarter, the savings were offset by weaker live production performance driven by extreme, sustained cold weather," said Ettinger.

Jennie-O Turkey Store segment made additional investments in its brand during the first quarter, kicking off a new "Make the Switch" media campaign in January, featuring lean ground turkey. Jennie-O sales for the quarter increased 2 percent, led by sales of Jennie-O Turkey Store turkey bacon and fresh lean ground turkey tray packs. 

Hormel's Grocery Products, Refrigerated Foods and International segments also increased profits during the first quarter, while the Hormel Foods Specialty Foods segment experienced a loss.