Campbell Soup Co posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday, helped by higher prices and increased sales of condensed soup and Prego pasta sauce as people ate at home more to save money.

The company, known for its soup in the iconic red and white can, also forecast earnings for the current year that would beat analyst expectations.

Campbell has been one of the beneficiaries of consumers eating more at home as people not only eat soup as a low-price meal, but also use the condensed soups for cooking.

Operating earnings rose to 30 cents share in the fourth quarter, ended August 2, from 26 cents a year earlier.

Analysts on average forecast 26 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

The latest results exclude changes in the market value of commodity hedging contracts and an impairment charge for certain European trademarks.

Net profit was $69 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with $89 million, or 24 cents, a year earlier.

Sales fell 11 percent to $1.53 billion due to the impact of the stronger dollar and having 13 weeks in the 2009 quarter instead of the 14 weeks in the 2008 quarter.

Excluding the impact of currency, the extra week and acquisitions and divestitures, sales were up 2 percent, the company said.

The fourth quarter tends to be the slowest of the year for Campbell as fewer people eat soup in the summer.

Sales of condensed soups - the ones in the red and white can - rose 4 percent in the United States, while ready-to-serve soups rose 14 percent.

Prego pasta sauce sales also rose in double digits, the company said.

Campbell forecast a 5 percent to 7 percent rise in earnings in the current fiscal year from the adjusted $2.22 a share reported for fiscal 2009.

That would be equal to about $2.33 to $2.38 a share. analysts on average forecast $2.31 a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Campbell shares stood at $33.70 in premarket trading, up from Thursday's New York Stock Exchange close at $33.12.

(Reporting by Brad Dorfman; editing by John Wallace, Dave Zimmerman)