Frozen bakery products contributed growth toRalcorp Holdings Inc.,St. Louis, which reported its sales and earnings for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2010. One the nation's largest private label brands companies, Ralcorp noted that overall figures were impacted by no fewer than four separate acquisitions, including that ofSepp's Gourmet Foods Ltd., a Delta, B.C., processor of frozen breakfast foods.

Other deals included theAmerican Italian Pasta Company,J.T. Bakeries Inc. andNorth American Baking Ltd.

Commenting on results within its Frozen Bakery Products segment, officials said fourth quarter net sales grew 10 percent from a year before due to (1) results associated with Sepp's Gourmet Foods business as well as (2) increases within the base business.

Base-business net sales were up 4 percent as the effects of increased volume and a favorable sales mix were partially offset by the effects of lower pricing, said Ralcorp.  Base-business volume was up 5 percent -- driven by new and expanded product distribution with two major retailers and year-over-year volume growth in the foodservice channel for the first time in eight quarters.

Ralcorp noted that the segment's profit was down for the three months ended September 30, 2010, versus the same period in 2009 -- primarily as a result of lower pricing, partially offset by higher volumes and results from the recent acquisition.

"We are pleased with the performance of all four of our business acquisitions during the quarter, and we are continuing to execute our revenue and cost synergy plans for each of the acquired companies," noted co-CEO Kevin Hunt. " ... Ralcorp is facing significant raw material cost increases as we enter the new fiscal year.  We intend to aggressively reduce internal costs, eliminate inefficient trade spending and take pricing actions when justified.  We expect these mitigation efforts to largely offset cost increases."