MONTERREY, MEXICO — Demand for new products in the company’s “better-for-you” line helped drive Gruma USA’s performance in the fourth quarter and full fiscal year.

In the year ended Dec. 31, 2022, Gruma USA had operating income of $440.9 million, up 20% from $368.9 million in fiscal 2021. For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, operating income increased 31% to $140.7 million from $107.3 million.

Net sales at Gruma USA increased 23% in fiscal 2022 to $3.2 billion, up from $2.6 billion a year ago. Net sales in the fourth quarter increased 29% to $890.7 million from $690.4 million.

Gruma said sales volume increased 8% in the fourth quarter to 418,000 tonnes, driven by both the tortilla and corn flour businesses.

“The tortilla business grew 12.8% in volume in 4Q22,” Gruma said. “Excluding the effect from the additional week, tortilla volume would have grown 5% and benefited from higher consumption of corn products in light of inflation pressures, in addition to stable ongoing growth from Gruma’s ‘better-for-you’ product line. Demand for new products in that market continues to contribute to volume performance.

“In corn flour, volumes rose 2% during the quarter; excluding the additional week however, volumes would have contracted by 5%. Normal price sensitivity as a result of a recent higher price implementation strategy took place among some of Gruma’s industrial clients, which offset a strong performance from the retail channel in this business, on the back of rising preference for home cooking over of restaurant dining.”

Gruma said operating margin improved 30 basis points to 15.8% during the fourth quarter.

Cost of sales as a percentage of net sales improved to 57.9% from 58.1% in the fourth quarter, reflecting higher raw material costs, higher labor costs, greater volume and an extra week of operations.

Gruma said it spent $73 million on capital expenditures during the fourth quarter and $298 million for the full year. During the fourth quarter, the company allocated expenditures to construction at its new tortilla plant in Indiana, equipment upgrades at its tortilla plant in Dallas, production expansion in China, and maintenance and general technology upgrades across the company, particularly at Gimsa.

Overall, majority net income at Gruma SAB de CV in fiscal 2022 was $319.2 million, up 6% from $302.2 million in fiscal 2021. Net sales increased 21% to $5.6 billion from $4.62 billion a year ago.