Pet food helps Nestle outshine peers

Consumers kept buying packaged food through lockdowns, helping food giant Nestle outshine its rivals last year.

The company shed underperforming businesses and invested in growth areas such as plant-based food.

It also saw strong demand for pet food and health products in the Americas.

On Thursday (February 18) Nestle said it wanted to boost organic sales growth towards a mid-single-digit rate this year.

Full-year organic sales, which strip out currency effects and acquisitions, grew 3.6% in 2020.

That was ahead of Nestle's own guidance.

It also topped rival Unilever's 1.9% underlying sales growth.

France's Danone is due to post its 2020 results on Friday (February 19), with analysts expecting negative like-for-like growth.

Net profit at Nestle fell 3% to $13.5 billion, also beating expectations.

The year-ago period had benefited from a one-off gain linked to the sale of its skin health business.

Shares in Nestle though, fell over half a percent in early trade.