Nestlé sales tumbled 6.3% to SFr19.7 billion ($14.3bn; €13.1bn; £9.1bn) in the first quarter as it failed to hit its long-term growth target.

The globe’s largest consumer food group reported real internal growth (stripping out the effects of price rises, acquisitions, etc.) of 2.5%, well below its goal of 4%.

Real internal sales fell 1.7% at Nestlé’s chocolate/confectionery unit and 0.4% at its petcare business, but rose 3.7% at the group’s soluble coffee division and achieved double-digit growth among its water brands.

Nestlé blamed the late Easter (which affected Q1 chocolate sales), competition in Japan and a 2.1% price hike for the slow growth. The latter is especially significant, as organic growth, a measure that includes price increases, stood at 4.6%, a figure the group boasted was “amongst the best in the industry.”

As a result, Nestlé has changed its long-term targets to 5%–6% organic growth over the next three to five years.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff