A small family-run Merseyside pickle firm has said its sales increased from 460 jars per week to almost 25,000 after a fire at a Premier Foods factory led to panic buying of pickle.

Premier Foods' Branston pickle factory was damaged by fire at the end of October, prompting rumours of Christmas pickle shortages that spurred some panic buying. The company said at the beginning of November that it hoped to achieve a partial start up of Branston Pickle production within three weeks and expected a gradual move back to full production of all products over December and January.

However, Premier Foods' loss has been Bartons Pickles' gain, with the small company increasing its sales significantly, reported The Guardian.

"Supermarket buyers were looking to cover supplies," Joanna Jenner, general manager and great-granddaughter of Bartons' founder Edmund Barton, was quoted by the newspaper as saying. "Before we knew it, we were selling to 500 stores. It's been amazing."

Bartons Pickle said its product is still selling well, despite a resumption of production at the Branston plant.