South Africa's Pioneer Food Group has booked lower underlying half-year profits, affected by higher input costs and weak consumer confidence.

Pioneer, which produces a range of food and beverage products, booked adjusted headline earnings of ZAR393m (US$41.3m) for the six months to the end of March, down 0.1% on the year. Adjusted operating profit was down 7% at ZAR582m.

The figures were adjusted for a ZAR65m charge Pioneer booked for the implementation of initiatives for black economic empowerment.

Pioneer saw revenues increase 11% to ZAR10bn on the back of a 6% increase in volumes.

CEO Phil Roux, who took the helm last month, said: "Top-line growth has been fair in most categories. Margins compressed as pricing under-recovered input cost pressure; particularly in grains, broilers and eggs, given that volume preservation was a key consideration amidst constrained consumer spending. Cost management and efficiency improvements from value chain re-engineering initiatives contained cost-per-unit increases below inflation."

Pioneer sells products from breakfast cereal and eggs to pasta and chicken products in South Africa. It also has a presence in Namibia, Uganda and Zambia. The company is Heinz's venture partner in South Africa. It also sells breakfast cereals in the UK.