PHOENIX — The Inventure Group, Inc., a marketer and manufacturer of snack foods, said net earnings for the first quarter ended March 28 rose 116% to $887,169, equal to 5c per share on the common stock, up from $411,296, or 2c per share, in the same period a year ago.

Net sales rose 14% to $29,718,837. The gain reflected a 15% gain in snack division sales to $19 million.

"Our results continue to be strong as we have now had five consecutive quarters of year-over-year earnings growth," said Terry McDaniel, president and chief executive officer of The Inventure Group. "This was the best first quarter in the company’s history as a public company as we had double-digit growth in both the top and bottom lines.

"In our Healthy/Natural category, Boulder Canyon continues its strong momentum with a 31% increase in net revenues over last year. Rader Farms revenues were up 11.4%, taking our Healthy/Natural category up 18%. This category now represents 45% of total net revenue. We also grew our Indulgent/Specialty category by 10%. TGI Friday’s business grew for the first time since 2006, fueled by new product success, expansion into the dollar store channel and a stronger base business. Burger King snacks continued to perform well.

"Our strategic push into private label paid off with sales increases of 167%. Operations execution was excellent as evidenced by decreased plant costs per lb versus the same period last year. We have seen some savings in fuel and certain commodities, but other commodity costs continue to increase, and improved execution helps to manage these costs."