December 20/Omaha, Neb./Associated Press -- ConAgra Foods said fiscal second-quarter net income fell nearly 15%, as high food costs continued to pressure results. The company, like many food companies, is dealing with higher costs for ingredients, packaging and fuel and has raised its prices to offset those increases.

"The marketplace environment remains difficult due to continuing inflationary pressures and the impact of the current economy on consumers, so we are cautious about business conditions," said CEO Gary Rodkin.

Still, results for the Omaha, Neb.-based company were better than analysts expected and ConAgra reaffirmed its fiscal 2012 guidance.

The maker of Slim Jim, Chef Boyardee and other packaged foods says net income fell to $171.8 million, or $0.41 per share. That compares with $200.9 million, or $0.46 per share a year ago. Excluding one-time items related to derivatives and restructuring, net income was $0.47 per share, ahead of the $0.43 per share analysts expected, according to a poll by FactSet.

Revenue during the 13 weeks ended November 27 rose 8% to $3.4 billion from $3.15 billion last year. Analysts expected $3.34 billion.

Sales of branded consumer foods, the company's largest division that makes up 63% of sales, rose 4% to $2.18 billion. Top sellers were Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Hunt's, Marie Callender's, Orville Redenbacher's and others.

Sales of commercial foods, which make up 37% of sales, rose 16% to $1.23 billion, as the company raised prices because of higher wheat and potato costs.

Results from its Lamb Weston potato division improved due to cost cutting and higher volume.

ConAgra's outlook sees adjusted fiscal 2012 earnings per share growth in the low- to mid-single digit percentage range, with most growth concentrated in the fourth quarter, helped by higher prices and acquisitions.

 From the December 21, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.