Kraft's profit rises as cost cuts offset sales dip

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 1, 2014 at 5:31 pm •  Published: May 1, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Kraft reported a higher profit for its first quarter on Thursday as cost-cutting and one-time benefits helped offset a decline in revenue.

The maker of Lunchables, Oscar Mayer and Velveeta partly attributed the lower revenue to the timing of Easter-related shipments, which were pushed into the second quarter this year instead of the first quarter.

CEO Tony Vernon also said in a conference call that the company continued to be negatively impacted by cuts to the SNAP food stamps program in the first three months of the year. He also noted that higher tax bills seem to be hitting middle- to upper-income consumers. Still, Kraft plans to significantly raise prices on a number of products to cover rising costs for ingredients.

More broadly, Kraft is facing intensifying competition for a number of its products. Its namesake macaroni and cheese, for example, is being challenged by smaller players that position themselves as having higher-quality ingredients. Kraft is also working to try and refresh the outdated images of products including Kool-Aid, but the results have been mixed.

Despite the lack of encouraging results for Jell-O so far, Vernon stressed that there was "more to come" on the product line and that analysts and investors should "stay tuned."

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