UK food group Cranswick today (21 May) posted a 9% rise in annual profits after robust meat sales boosted revenues.

For the year to 31 March, Cranswick, which produces sausages, bacon and sandwiches throughout the UK, saw operating profit climb almost 9% to GBP37.1m (US$73.2m).

Cranswick's buoyant financial performance has led the company to sell its feed milling business, the company's original activity, which was set up in the 1970s.

Revenue jumped 19% to GBP525m, as Cranswick enjoyed growth in the premium ends of the sausages and bacon category, as well a burst in sales after last November's acquisition of DeliCo.

Cranswick chairman Martin Davey said:  "Cranswick has continued its successful development and is once again reporting record profits. Underlying sales growth was particularly strong resulting in an increase in market share."

Cranswick said its sausage and pork sales had grown far ahead of the UK market. The Cranswick pork business saw sales leap 23%, while total fresh pork sales in the UK grew by just 2%, the company said.  

Cranswick added that while the UK sausage market showed no growth over the last 12 months, its business achieved growth of 28%. Cranswick's bacon sales soared 65% as the company's focus on the premium end of the business bore fruit.

The company's cooked meat business, Cranswick Convenience Foods, also saw sales grow ahead of the market.  Cranswick's pre-packed cooked meat jumped 16%, although the company's deli sales dipped 3%.

Meanwhile, Continental Fine Foods, Cranswick's Manchester-based charcuterie business, saw sales jump 21%.