PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Net sales in the Back to Nature brand fell by 17%, or $3.3 million, in the first quarter ended March 30 when compared to the previous year’s first quarter. The decrease was not too surprising to executives of Parsippany-based B&G Foods, which owns the brand.

Core categories for Back to Nature are cookies and crackers with granola and nuts making up a secondary core, said Kenneth G. Romanzi, president and chief executive officer of B&G Foods, in a May 2 earnings call.

“But the prior owners got into things like soup and juices and cereals and stuff and really didn’t have any strength or strongholds, and when we took the business over, we identified those as questionable categories to be in as well as our retailers,” he said. “So we literally are cleaning up and getting out of those categories, which will depress sales, and to focus on the core snacking categories. So it’s down, but it’s down for the reasons we understand …”

The effect of rationalizing stock-keeping units on Back to Nature sales should alleviate over the next two quarters, Mr. Romanzi said.

In the first quarter, consumption in Back to Nature’s product categories of better-for-you cookies, crackers, granola and nuts remained solid in both specialty food channels and several mainstream supermarket retailers, Mr. Romanzi said.

“And now that our product line is cleaning up non-core products, our plan is to expand this brand to a greater array of customers,” he said.

B&G Foods posted net income of $16.8 million, equal to 26c per share on the common stock, in the quarter ended March 30, which was down 18% from $20.5 million, or 31c per share, in the previous year’s first quarter. Net sales of $412.7 million were down 4.4% from $431.7 million. This year’s first quarter did not include the Pirate Brands business, which B&G Foods sold to Amplify Snack Brands, Inc., a subsidiary of The Hershey Co., in 2018. In the previous year’s first quarter, net sales of Pirate Brands were $21 million.