Flowers Foods (NYSE:FLO), the Georgia-based company that, among other things, bakes many well-known brands of bread (including Nature's Own, Cobblestone Mill, and Sunbeam), reported its quarterly results yesterday. I considered doing an overview that included something about the dough rising at Flowers. But Motley Fool readers are a sophisticated lot, and you deserve more than that sort of hackneyed silliness.

So, playing it somewhat straight, Flowers did reasonably well in the quarter. Revenues reached $441.1 million, up 8.1% from the $408 million in the comparable 2005 quarter. The company's bakeries group, which accounts for about 80% of total revenues, increased sales by nearly 10%. And according to a quote from the chief executive officer in the company's earnings release, "Our specialty group sales were up slightly." The specialty group produces the other 20% of revenues, and by my calculation, "slightly" means about 1.3%.

At the same time, with price increases now covering higher costs for ingredients and energy, management has raised its guidance for fiscal 2006. It now anticipates that sales will expand between 10% and 10.4%, to something approaching $1.9 billion. Income from continuing operations is expected to fall in the $81 million to $87 million range, likely resulting in a per-share figure of $1.33 to $1.43. This represents as much as a 44% improvement over the $0.99 per share that the company earned in fiscal 2005.

Despite these seemingly sound results, the market was unimpressed, dropping Flowers' share price 3.5% to $25.76 on Thursday. It seems that the company's quarterly results fell short of the analysts' expectations of $0.29 in per-share income on revenues of $449.6 million.

Flowers results followed a decidedly mixed bag for the food companies. For instance, Sara Lee (NYSE:SLE) took the proverbial cake by nearly quintupling quarterly earnings (although the majority of that was from a tax benefit and gains on selling discontinued businesses). Heinz (NYSE:HNZ) topped analysts' revenues estimates slightly, but beat bottom-line expectations by $0.04 a share. Kraft (NYSE:KFT) managed to squeeze out increased earnings on a dip in revenues.

As for Flowers, while results for the quarter may have fallen a bit short, the top end of per-share guidance for the year represents a healthy jump from a year ago. So while the company may not appear to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, it clearly bears watching.

For related flowery Foolishness:

Kraft and Heinz are Motley Fool Income Investor selections. To see why, take a free 30-day trial today. Sara Lee is a former Income Investor pick.

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned, but has been known to consume vast quantities of their products. He welcomes your comments.