Ongoing costs associated with the MaraNatha nut-butter recalls in the U.S., a factory fire in the U.K. and the negative impact of the strengthening U.S. dollar prompted the New York-based firm to lower its expected net sales for the year by $125 million to between $2.65 billion and $2.676 billion. It also lowered its expected earnings per share 3% to $1.85 to $1.89, according to the firm’s second quarter earnings report Feb. 4.
The company has a history of conservative guidance, though, and could well surpass these predictions, but even if it does not, these figures still represent a 20% growth in revenue from last year.
This silver lining gives the firm something to be happy about, as does the growing consumer interest in healthy and better-for-you foods that are free from GMOs, gluten, antibodies, dairy and other elements perceived as unhealthy, CEO Irwin Simon said during a same day call with analysts.
“Consumers increasingly want food options that are better for you and we have the options for them,” said Simon, adding: “We feel more optimistic about Hain today than ever before. We are in the right categories.”
He touted that the firm offers products in 10 of the 15 highest penetration categories across organic and natural, 99% of its products do not have GMOs and more than 50% of the products it sells in the U.S. are certified organic – placing it smack on trend with consumer demands.
He also noted that the firm plans to roll out a whopping 75-plus “new exciting products” at the upcoming Expo West Natural Products tradeshow in March.
Among the new products will be several ready-to-drink beverages, including a line of Chia Tea Lattes that Simon says will be boldly flavored, “barista quality beverages that are brimming with the goodness of real brewed tea.”
Hain also will expand its line of raw and organic fruit and vegetable BluePrint juices to include a basil colored green fresh juice, Simon said. It may even expand the brand into the soup category farther down the line, hinted Chief Financial Officer Steve Smith.
“If you can cleanse with juice, you can cleanse with soup,” he quipped.
Simon confirmed the firm will display prototypes of fresh refrigerated soups at Expo, where it will gauge consumer interest.
In the snack category, Hain will expand its Sensible Portion line to include vegetable puff snacks that will have 30% less fat than potato chips, Simon said. In addition, he noted, two SKUs of the Sensible Portion line will be introduced to 4,000 7-Eleven convenience stores – bringing the firm into a channel where it has very little presence but which represents a significant growth opportunity as more consumers seek healthy snacks at c-stores. (Read more about what c-store shoppers want HERE.)
In the frozen food aisle, Hain will launch Dream brand coconut bites, which will be coated in thick chocolate for a decadent lactose- and gluten-free treat, Simon said.
Finally, he called out the firm’s “tremendous” line-up of gluten-free products sold under Hain’s recently acquired Rudi’s Organic Bakery brand, including garlic and cheese toast that will debut at Expo. (Learn more about the firm's plans for the brand HERE.)
With so many new products in the pipeline that are on trend, Simon is confident the firm can overcome its current troubles and deliver products that consumers like and results investors like.