Nestle chairman: Price pressures gradually easing

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ZURICH (Reuters) - Nestle is seeing an easing of price pressures stemming from raw materials, transport and packaging costs, said Chairman Paul Bulcke, adding that company would still increase prices.

"Price pressure is gradually easing," Bulcke told Swiss newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft in an interview published on Friday.

Nestle has already passed on to consumers some of the increased costs via raised prices, but further hikes will be needed this year, said Bulcke, who has been chairman at the Swiss foodmaker since 2017.

Nestle increased its prices by 8.2% during 2022, but sales volumes - which it calls real internal growth - only increased by 0.1%.

During the third and fourth quarters of last year, the maker of KitKat chocolate bars and Nescafe instant coffee suffered lower sales volumes as cash strapped consumers cut back.

Bulcke, who was Nestle's CEO from 2008 to 2016, was upbeat that the company would be able to increase volumes.

"For positive real internal growth on an annual basis, I remain confident," he told the newspaper. "That is important, because otherwise we lose market momentum."

(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)