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Consumers' quest for protein, fresh food boosts Tyson's sales: CEO

  • Tyson, whose brands include Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farms and Ball Park hot dogs, posts fourth quarter revenue that increased 10.8 percent from last year.
  • Prepared foods sales surged 23 percent, pork and beef both grew about 10 percent and chicken rose 8 percent.
  • CEO Tom Hayes attributes the growth to Americans' desire to eat protein-rich food.

Consumers want protein and fresh food, and that's boosting Tyson Foods' sales.

The meat producer, whose brands include Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farms and Ball Park hot dogs, posted fourth quarter revenue of $10.15 billion, a 10.8 percent increase from last year. Prepared foods sales surged 23 percent, pork and beef grew about 10 percent and chicken rose 8 percent, the company said Monday.

CEO Tom Hayes attributes the growth to Americans' desire to eat protein-rich food coupled with their shopping habits that are pulling them away from the center of the grocery store where shelf-stable food is located.

"Important is the fact that we are a protein company, but also the parts of the store where (consumers are) shopping is changing, and they're going to the perimeter of the store where we play, and that's been a great, great tailwind for us," Hayes told CNBC's "Power Lunch."

Tyson is focused on growing domestically, which includes innovating and brand building, Hayes said. Yet exports represent about 10 percent of the business, he said, with Mexico and China proving to be strong markets.

Because of that, the company is closely watched the Trump administration's trade initiatives.

"Our feeling is do no harm. We don't want anything happen to our agreements we already have," Hayes said. "But the fact that the administration is pushing for more exports from the U.S. to China is very good."

Tyson reported adjusted earnings of $1.43 per share, above Wall Street's expectations of 1.38 per share for the fourth quarter. Net income attributable to Tyson increased nearly 1 percent from the year-ago quarter to reach $394 million.

Shares of Tyson were up 1.6 percent on Monday. They've gained 22 percent this year.