UK private-label meat packer Hilton Food Group today (14 September) said it was "encouraged" by its performance in the first half of its fiscal year after sales and profits rose.

The company, which supplies retailers including Tesco and Ahold, posted a 12% rise in pre-tax profit to GBP11.5m (US$17.7m) for the 28 weeks to 18 July. Operating profit was up 5% at GBP12.2m. Turnover, meanwhile, climbed 5% to GBP449.9m.

"We have continued to grow our business through new product initiatives, range extension and by achieving growth in developing markets, such as Central Europe, whilst our extensive and consistent capital investment over recent years has enabled us to continue supporting our customers' growth in our longer established markets," said chief executive Robert Watson.

Hilton Food Group said it had started supplying Baltic retailer Rimi in Estonia in the first half of the year.

The company added that its distribution centre in Denmark remained on track to start operating next year. The Danish site will help Hilton Food Group serve Danish retailer Coop Denmark.