GREELEY, COLO. — Net income at Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. in the first quarter ended March 31 totaled $174.9 million, equal to 73¢ per share on the common stock, up distinctly from $5.6 million, or 2¢ per share, in the same period a year ago. Net sales improved to $4.4 billion from $4.2 billion in 2023.

Adjusted earnings per share were 77¢ with adjusted net income at $182.9 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $371.9 million, or an 8.5% margin, almost 5% higher than a year ago.

“Although we experienced depressed market conditions and persistent consumer inflation throughout 2023, we saw this as opportunity to enhance our competitive advantage,” said Fabio Sandri, chief executive officer for Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. “To that end, we focused on the consistent execution of our strategies, controlling what we can control, and maintaining investment in our operations. These efforts further strengthened our business, accelerating our profitable growth as market conditions evolved.”

The company clarified that the Big Bird business in the United States realized significant benefits from enhanced operational efficiencies and market fundamentals. Pilgrim’s also reported that its Case Ready and Small Bird businesses continued to grow due to increased distribution with key customers, promotional activity and the value of chicken to consumers. 

Both retail and foodservice saw growth in Prepared Foods with branded offerings. Pilgrim’s noted that its branded, fully cooked offerings such as Just Bare and Pilgrim’s net sales collectively grew 30% from 2023, while also gaining distribution in all channels. 

Pilgrim’s also mentioned that it began production at its latest protein conversion facility in south Georgia in March.

 “Our US portfolio continues to demonstrate an ability to capture market upsides while minimizing downside risk through a diversified set of offerings across multiple bird sizes and value-added items,” Sandri said. “This approach is further reinforced by our key customer partnerships and relentless focus on operational excellence.”

Under its European business, Pilgrim’s Pride explained that consumer inflation and labor costs remain challenging.

Diversification through brands continues to grow as net sales for Richmond and Fridge Raiders grew 6.5% and 9.6%. 

“Over the past year, the Europe team executed a variety of efforts to improve key customer partnerships, enhance our operational excellence, and further diversify our portfolio of branded offerings,” Sandri said. “Our foundation is much stronger today and we will continue to explore ways to accelerate our journey of profitable growth.”

A combination of enhanced supply and demand fundamentals in the commodity market helps Pilgrim’s business in Mexico, the company said.

“Our strategies continue to demonstrate their effectiveness as we’ve grown ahead of the markets with our key customers,” Sandri added. “Similarly, our branded portfolio continues to gain acceptance throughout the market, further diversifying our portfolio. When these efforts are combined with our operational excellence initiatives to expand capacity, we can further drive our profitable growth.”

Through its earnings statement, Pilgrim’s also highlighted its efforts on sustainability. The company stated that between 2019 and 2022 its greenhouse gas emissions intensity fell 15.6%, translating into an absolute reduction of 216,000 metric tons.

“We are proud of our leadership mindset regarding sustainability,” Sandri added. “Given our continued efforts, we can elevate our performance in GHG intensity reduction, creating a better future for our team members and further reinforcing our vision to become the best and most respected company in our industry.”