ZURICH, April 20 Food group Nestle
confirmed it aims to grow underlying sales by 2-4 percent this
year after growth slowed in the first quarter, hit by weak
consumer demand for packaged foods and a deflationary
Underlying "organic" sales growth at the maker of Buitoni
pasta and Maggi soups slowed to 2.3 percent in the first
quarter, from 3.9 percent in the year-ago period that included
one more trading day and an earlier Easter, the group based in
Vevey on Lake Geneva said in a statement on Thursday.
This was in line with forecasts in a Reuters poll.
Consumer goods groups face challenges as increasingly
health-conscious consumers often prefer fresh produce to
packaged foods, pushing the world's biggest food group to make
its products healthier by cutting back on sugar, salt and fat
and build up the business of foods with health benefits.
(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz)