COLUMBUS, OHIO — Net income at Lancaster Colony Corp. fell 7% during the first quarter ended Sept. 30. For the quarter, income totaled $21,258,000, equal to 78c per share on the common stock, down from $22,767,000, or 81c per share, in the same period a year ago. Net sales totaled $274,516,000, up 4% from $265,051,000.

Operating income within Lancaster’s Specialty Foods segment fell 7% during the first quarter to $35,199,000, while sales in the division increased 7% to $236,947,000 from $220,512,000.

“Despite increased first-quarter consolidated sales driven by our Specialty Foods segment, operating income was again challenged by substantially higher material costs,” said John B. Gerlach Jr., chairman and chief executive officer.

Mr. Gerlach said Specialty Foods sales benefitted from higher pricing and volume improvements in both food service and branded retail lines, especially in frozen bread. New product introductions also provided a boost, he said.