When considering opposing ends of the food spectrum, you might expect the lower-priced brand would perform better in the current economic climate. But that's why they play the capitalism game in the markets -- and not just in the forecast sheets.

Organic grocer

Whole Foods Market

(WFMI)

proved as much yesterday, when it posted an unexpected gain in its third quarter and raised its full-year outlook -- in a major hint that consumers might no longer be afraid to drop disposable income on free-range chicken and organic arugula.

The news sent shares in the company soaring 21% to $29.99 in morning trading on Wednesday.

During the quarter, the company reported a profit of $35 million, or 25 cents a share, compared with $33.9 million, or 24 cents, in the year-ago period. Analysts expected earnings of 21cents.

Sales grew 2% to $1.9 billion, but same-store sales fell 3.8%.

Whole Foods raised its full-year outlook to 80 cents to 82 cents a share, up from a prior forecast of 76 cents a share.

On the other end of the spectrum,

Kraft Foods

(KFT)

reported an 11% jump in second-quarter earnings, but saw its revenue slip -- hurt by the strength of the dollar, which weighed on international sales.

While Kraft's earnings beat expectations and the company also raised its full-year outlook, shares still fell over 1% to $27.95 in morning trading.

During the quarter, the company earned $827 million, or 56 cents a share, compared with $745 million, or 49 cents, in the year-ago period.

Revenue declined 6% to $10.16 billion, as currency exchange rates hurt results by 8.1 percentage points.

The company now expects to earn about $1.93 a share in 2009, up from previous guidance of $1.88 a share.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi from New York.

Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.