Premier Foods boosted by appetite for branded food

STRONGER sales of branded food products helped boost profits at Premier Foods by 4.5 per cent in 2009 with further growth expected in the coming year.

The maker of Hovis bread and Branston pickle reported a trading profit of £323m for the year to 31 December yesterday, in line with previously issued guidance. Sales climbed by 2.2 per cent to £2.66bn with branded goods enjoying a sudden surge in popularity with sales – up 6.5 per cent to £1.68bn.

Despite strong performances by Ambrosia custards, Homepride cooking sauces and Batchelor’s soup and noodles, the UK’s largest food manufacturer is feeling the pinch from higher input costs reflecting higher commodity markets and weaker sterling and higher promotional costs.