Premier Foods enjoys sales surge

Mr Kipling maker Premier Foods has highlighted a strong start to its second quarter but expects this trend to slow as people return to eating out of home with the easing of Covid restrictions.

Angel Delight is made at the Knighton Foods site at Adbaston
Angel Delight is made at the Knighton Foods site at Adbaston

The firm, which has its Knighton Foods subsidiary at Adbaston, near Stafford, said group sales jumped 22.5% for the three months ended June 27 as consumers flocked to its brands during the coronavirus lockdown period.

It also said its recently-upgraded expectations for the full year remain unchanged.

Last month, the company had forecast revenue and profit for the current fiscal year to beat estimates as the lockdown drove people to cook at home, and said it was unclear as to how consumers’ eating habits might change after restrictions ease.

Premier Foods said all its major grocery brands delivered double-digit sales, with strong performances from Ambrosia, Oxo and Sharwood’s. Nissin noodles products also proved to be extremely popular as sales more than doubled during the quarter.

The firm said it benefitted from delivering consistently high availability of its product ranges through the supply chain, during this prolonged period of higher demand.

Premier also delivered online growth of 115 per cent in the quarter.

CEO Alex Whitehouse said: “As expected, we continued to see strong demand for our grocery brands in Q1, with consumers eating the vast majority of their meals at home. We have grown faster than our categories during this period, both in standard retail and online channels. This reflects not only the strength of our market leading brands but also the excellent performance of our colleagues across the supply chain to ensure product availability while working in close collaboration with our customers to meet this elevated demand.

“We continue to deploy our branded growth model strategy; our innovation has performed particularly well in Q1 and the first of our six brands on air this year benefitted from an extended period of TV advertising in the quarter. We have also observed significant increases in household penetration of our brands in the quarter, as Britain has got cooking again and consumers expand their repertoire of dishes prepared at home.

“The health and wellbeing of all our colleagues has been, and remains, of paramount importance to us. The additional measures we put in place to safeguard our teams from early March are unchanged and our manufacturing and distribution sites have all remained fully operational.”

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