Protein powder and SlimFast products helped to keep revenues in Glanbia plc up in the first quarter this year, with the group reporting that revenues were up 10.5% on a constant currency basis compared to 2020.

It said this was down to good performance across Glanbia Performance Nutrition (GPN), which sells SlimFast and Optimum Nutrition whey protein powder and Glanbia Nutritionals (GN) divisions.

The news came out ahead of Glanbia’s AGM being held today and commented that the strong first quarter gave the group confidence for the rest of the year.

Globally, as we emerge from the pandemic, health, wellness and nutrition are prominent consumer trends

GPN delivered revenue growth in quarter one of 14.1% on a constant currency basis, while GN Nutritional Solutions delivered a volume growth of 10.3%.

It said this was down to strong customer demand for vitamin and mineral premixed products including solid trends in dairy solutions.

It also commented that there was strong operating cash low with net debt at €498.5m at the end of quarter one in 2021. This marked a decrease of €191.6m compared to the net debt on position on the previous year.

Final-year growth based on quarter one is expected to be at the upper end of 6% to 12%.

“Revenue growth was driven by improving trading conditions in North American and Asia Pacific markets for both the GPN and GN business segments. Globally, as we emerge from the pandemic, health, wellness and nutrition are prominent consumer trends,” Siobhán Talbot, group managing director, said.

However, she sounded a note of caution that COVID-19 still could have a potentially disruptive influence on the market.

US cheese

Glanbia said its US Cheese revenue increased by 6.5% in the period, with volume growth by 13.4%.

However, the price actually declined by 6.9% but it said this was related to lower year-on-year pricing.

It said sales were driven by the new large-scale joint venture plant in Michigan which is expected to be fully commissioned, as planned, during the second quarter.

“US Cheese operates a robust business model which largely provides margin protection against dairy price fluctuations,” it said.

It added that the construction of a new Glanbia EU JV plant in Portaoise was on track.