Its global slogan reads, “Good Food. Good Life.” For that matter, CPG giant Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Switzerland, could take it further and add “good year” to the list.

New multi-serve microwave entree ready in minutes.

Good food. Good life. Good year.

Its global slogan reads, “Good Food. Good Life.” For that matter, CPG giantNestléS.A., Vevey, Switzerland, could take it further and add “good year” to the list.

During the year ended December 31, 2008, net profit rose to 18 billion Swiss francs from 10.65 billion francs a year before. That reflected Nestlé selling its 24.8 percent share of eyecare giant Alcon Inc. to Novartis AG. Meanwhile, Nestlé said total fiscal 2008 sales rose 2.2 percent to 109.9 billion Swiss francs from 107.5 billion a year before. Officials noted that Nestlé posted “organic sales growth of 8.3 percent, including real internal growth of 2.8 percent.”

CEO Paul Bulcke said, “Nestlé’s 2008 performance reflects its ability to achieve a high level of organic growth - together with an improvement in the EBIT margin - even in difficult times. The group’s results in 2008 are broad-based, demonstrate its intrinsic strength and provide momentum into 2009.”

Addressing its food and beverage business, Nestlé officials noted:

Global food and beverage businesses posted CHF 102.4 billion in annual sales and were a “main contributor to growth, achieving organic growth of 8.2 percent and real internal growth of 2.3 percent.”

North American businesses, including Nestlé USA and Nestlé Prepared Foods, achieved high single-digit organic growth.

In the United States, the “three billionaire brands - Hot Pockets, Stouffer’s and Lean Cuisine - accelerated [sales performance] during the course of the year.”

Last yearRefrigerated & Frozen Foodshonored Nestlé Prepared Foods as “Processor of the Year.” Besides the business’ overall growth,R&FFrecognized Nestlé for (1) investing in more than 43 new items including Stouffer’s Easy Express (multi-serve entrees in a new microwaveable paperboard tray), Lean Cuisine Seafood Selections (touting Omega-3 fatty acids) and Hot Pockets Panini Sandwiches; (2) for innovating in operations, with a contract pizza/bakery manufacturer co-located at a Nestlé plant in Jonesboro, Ark.; and (3) for investing in its business. Nestlé is spending $60 million to add 75,000 square feet of bakery and topping-packaging operations at its Jonesboro plant. Expansions also are underway in Danville, Va., (refrigerated Buitoni pasta processing) and Mount Sterling, Ky. (distribution center).

“We believe that consistent brand growth goes hand-in-glove with consistent investment in the consumer, whether [it’s through] advertising or product innovation and renovation,” said Prepared Foods President and CEO Angelo Iantosca. “Over many years, I don’t think that anyone has performed like we have, whether you’re talking about the debut of Lean Cuisine itself - one of the great innovations in the food industry and now a $1.5 billion brand - or Stouffer’s and Lean Cuisine Panini, a relatively new growth segment.”

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