Hillshire Brands Co raised its full-year outlook on Thursday after stronger-than-expected first-half performance that benefited from easing commodity costs.

The maker of Hillshire Farm lunch meat and Jimmy Dean sausage said it expects commodity costs to get more "challenging" as 2013 progresses. Still, the newly independent meat company forecast earnings of $1.60 to $1.70 per share in fiscal 2013. Its prior outlook called for $1.40 to $1.55 per share.

In the fiscal second quarter ended Dec. 29, net income was $65 million, or 53 cents per share, versus $469 million, or $3.94 per share, a year earlier, when the company was much larger and was called Sara Lee.

On a continuing operations basis, and excluding special items, Hillshire earned 62 cents per share, handily topping analysts' average estimate of 47 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters.