Nestle, the world's leading packaged food maker, today reported slightly better than expected first-quarter sales, helped by gains in volume and prices. 

The company behind KitKat bars, Gerber baby food and Perrier water said sales rose 0.5% to 20.9 billion Swiss francs. 

But currency exchange rates, particularly the strong Swiss franc, reduced reported sales by 4.5%. 

On an organic basis, sales rose 4.4%. Analysts on average expected a rise of 4.3%, according to a Reuters poll.

In February, Nestle predicted sales to grow around 5% this year, which is at the low end of its long-term model of 5-6% growth. 

It affirmed that target today, forecasting also improvements in margins, underlying earnings per share in constant currencies and capital efficiency. 

Nestle and its peers who sell consumer packaged goods faced a tough year in 2014, due to a dramatic slowing of emerging market economies and sluggishness in Western Europe and North America. 

Unilever yesterday reported surprisingly strong quarterly sales, helped by improvements in big markets such as China and North America. 

Nestle today reported growth of 2.5% in developed markets and 6.7% in emerging markets.