High business costs hurt ConAgra as commodity prices climb  Analysts are concerned about growth at ConAgra Foods as commodity prices have climbed so precipitously over the past 12 months, according to a published report.

Reuters reports that ConAgra recently reported its fourth quarter earnings, which disappointed investors. The company has had to grapple with soaring food prices that have eaten into its profit margins and put a damper on its cost reduction plans. What's more, ConAgra said that profit growth during its current fiscal year, which began in May, will fall below its long-term goal.

ConAgra makes, among other food products, Hunt's ketchup, Chef Boyardee canned foods and Pam cooking spray. The company has thus far been unable to keep pace with surging commodity costs, and its price increases have done little to help boost its deflating profit margins.

Still, ConAgra chief executive Gary Rodkin said that the company expects long-term earnings growth of between 6 to 8 percent. During its recently ended fourth quarter of the 2011 fiscal year, net income jumped to around $255 million from only $90.6 million during the same period in 2010.
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