Premier Foods plc said today (5 August) it plans to increase its advertising spending by 12% to boost its share across a number of categories.

CEO Robert Schofield told analysts today (5 August) that it is engaging in the “most prolific” marketing programme that it has ever done.

“Clearly we’ve come off the back of closing lots of factories when our marketers didn’t have access to get new products to market. We’re making up for that now,” he said.

“When we last spoke to you, the focus was very much on our new capital structure but as we said at the time, having completed the manufacturing rationalising in 2008, our intention in 2009 would return to getting behind our brands and leveraging the competitive advantage we believe we have created,” Schofield added.

This morning, the company said trading profits rose 5.6% to GBP123.6m (US$210m) for the six months to 27 June.

Turnover climbed 3.5% to GBP1.25bn, helped by a 17% increase in sales of Hovis.

Group operating profit however, dropped to GBP26.8m from GBP46.2m due to the impact of foreign exchange hedging and pension financing offsetting the increase in trading profit.

Schofield said the company will now focus its efforts on its new product launches, including Branston Mayo range, Hartley’s fruit pots, Hovis breakfast rolls, Sharwoods microwaveable noodles and its extended Quorn range.

“It’s the biggest programme of innovation we’ve had over the last two or three years … and what we are doing is basically classical launches,” Schofield said.

“We believe an increased focus on brand and product investment, together with the delivery of synergies and efficient cash management will help drive solid progress throughout the year. Our expectations for the full year remain unchanged.”