PORK supplier Cranswick yesterday posted a higher first-half profit, boosted by rise in demand from grocery retailers and European discounters, and said it was confident of meeting expectations for the full year. <br /><br />The group said pre-tax profits jumped 22 per cent to £21.3m in the six months to 30 September, from £17.5m the year before.<br /><br />The company, which supplies fresh pork and gourmet sausages to the UK’s food retail and manufacturing sectors, also raised its interim dividend to 8p from 7p.<br /><br />Chairman Martin Davey said: “The picture from a pork producer’s perspective is very positive. We are seeing increased consumption of pork in the UK... and a reduction in prices from the record high”. <br /><br />Cranswick, which was formed by farmers in the early 1970s to produce pig feed, recently sold its pet business to focus on the food sector. <br /><br />While fresh pork and cooked meat are likely to continue as the biggest areas of growth going forward, the sausage and bacon segments should see strong growth, Davey said. <br /><br />Analysts expect the company to post pretax profit of £40.55m for the year ended 31 March 2010.