Lassonde’s private label sales were up in Q1 but showed slight decline overall

A leader in private brand juices in the United States, the company overall posted a slight decline in sales for the first three months of 2021.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Lassonde Industries posted a slight dip in sales in the first quarter of 2021, following double-digit gains in Q4 last year as well as during the pandemic.

The Canadian company operates the subsidiary Lassonde Pappas and Co., one of the largest producers of store brand shelf-stable fruit juices and drinks in the United States, and reported sales for Q1 2021 decreased 1.2% year over year, totalling $466.8 million. The company’s operating profit for the quarter totalled $31.4 million, up more than $1 from the same quarter last year.

“Although industry volumes and our sales are slightly down from the same period in 2020, they remain up from historical averages,” said Nathalie Lassonde, CEO and vice chair of the board of Lassonde Industries. “It is also important to remember that sales in March 2020 were helped by an accumulation of food reserves related to the pandemic. We are pleased with our profitability level despite a marked increase in transportation and warehousing costs. We are seeing the effect of inflationary pressures on our costs and are gradually adjusting our prices in order to neutralize such effects on our profitability. Finally, I would like to thank our employees who, by their considerable effort and their resilience, contribute to pursuing our mission during these exceptional times.”

The company said excluding a $16 million unfavorable foreign exchange impact, Lassonde’s Q1 sales were up $10.4 million or 2.2% year over year, an increase largely due to a rise in private label sales and a favorable change in the sales mix of national brands, partly offset by a decrease in Canada in the sales volume of national brands.

Lassonde also reported that for the three-month period ended April 3, 2021, industry sales volumes in the U.S. and Canadian fruit juice and drinks markets slightly declined, again citing in the U.S. operations a sharp increase in transportation and warehousing costs.

In addition to Lassonde’s strong private brand juices, the company develops branded ready-to-drink juices and drinks and is a maker of cranberry sauces and fruit-based snack bars.