Nestle said it expected underlying sales growth to improve in the rest of 2016 after price pressures weighed on first-half growth at the world's biggest food company.
The maker of Kitkat chocolate bars and Maggi noodles confirmed its full-year outlook after "organic" sales growth -- adjusted for acquisitions, divestitures and currency swings -- slowed to 3.5 percent in the first half, below the average estimate of 3.8 percent in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Net profit fell to 4.10 billion Swiss francs ($4.27 billion), also lagging the poll average of 4.74 billion francs, due to a one-off non-cash adjustment to deferred taxes, the group said in a statement on Thursday.
Faced with more demanding consumers asking for fresh, healthy products, makers of packaged foods are reformulating recipes, cutting sugar, salt and fat or, a path chosen by Nestle, seeking solace in higher-margin "premium" products and health foods.
Nestle, which has missed its long-term target of 5-6 percent growth for three years, aims for 2016 organic growth in line with the 4.2 percent seen last year and improvements in margins and underlying earnings per share in constant currencies.