B&G Foods upbeat on Ortega, spices and seasonings

B&G Foods upbeat on Ortega, spices and seasonings

PARSIPPANY, NJ. — As new chief executive officer Kenneth C. Keller continues to shape his vision for B&G Foods, Inc. Two areas of the business that are sure to play a prominent role are spices and seasonings and Ortega taco sauces and shells.

In a Nov. 4 conference call to discuss third-quarter earnings at the Parsippany-based company, Mr. Keller said B&G Foods is investing in existing facilities for both businesses. In the case of spices and seasonings, a new high-tech automated line has been added at the company’s plant in Ankeny, Iowa. To accommodate stepped-up demand for Ortega products B&G Foods is adding new lines in Hurlock, Md., and Yadkinville, NC, he said.

“Net sales of Ortega were $37.6 million in the third quarter of 2021, representing an increase of $1.6 million, or 4.2%, compared to the third quarter of 2020 and an increase of $2.6 million, or 7.3%, when compared to the third quarter of 2019,” said Bruce C. Wacha, chief financial officer and executive vice president of finance. “If we had unlimited manufacturing capacity, net sales growth for Ortega would have been even higher. Demand for our Ortega taco sauce, taco shells, taco seasonings and salsa remained very strong… This is a category and a brand that we will continue to invest in, and where we believe that our recently added capacity for sauce, shells and seasonings will lead to increased performance in 2022.”

Spices and seasonings is another area that continues to be a leading driver of B&G Foods’ portfolio, Mr. Wacha said.

“Net sales of our spices and seasonings, including our legacy brands such as Ac’cent and Dash, and the brands that we acquired in 2016, such as Tone’s and Weber, were approximately $92.9 million, a little bit less than 20% of our total company net sales for the quarter,” he said. “Net sales of spices and seasonings were down by approximately $14 million, or 13.1%, compared to Q3 2020. The shortfall is driven primarily by capacity constraints as demand outran our supply and manufacturing capacity. While this phenomenon is getting better, and we expect will be alleviated in part by some additional capacity that we have coming on in the fourth quarter of this year or in early 2022, we are also lapping a massive quarter for spices and seasonings in last year’s third quarter. When comparing Q3 2019, net sales of spices and seasonings were quite strong and increased by approximately $10.3 million, or 12.5%.”

Elsewhere in the portfolio, Green Giant posted sales of $141.2 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2021, down $17 million, or 10.7%, from the same period a year ago but up $20.9 million, or 17%, when compared to the third quarter of fiscal 2019. Maple Grove Farms generated $20.2 million in sales in the quarter, down 2.4% from the third quarter of fiscal 2020 but up 15% from the same period in fiscal 2019, while Cream of Wheat posted sales of $15.2 million, down 7.4% from the same period a year ago but up 8.5% from the third quarter of fiscal 2019.

Overall, net income at B&G Foods, Inc. in the third quarter ended Oct. 2 was $20.75 million, equal to 32¢ per share on the common stock, down 56% from $46.81 million, or 73¢ per share, in the same period a year ago. The most recent quarter included $4.82 million in charges related to the acquisition of Crisco as well as $10.61 million in multi-employer pension plan withdrawal liability in connection with the sale and closing of a manufacturing plant in Portland, Maine.

Net sales increased 3.9% to $514.97 million from $495.76 million. The increase was primarily due to the Crisco acquisition, largely offset by comparisons against the extraordinary demand resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic during the third quarter of 2020, as well as one fewer reporting week in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the third quarter of 2020.