UK sugar-to-desserts firm Real Good Food Co. has pointed to its recent trading performance after reporting a first-half loss of almost GBP5m.

Pieter Totté, Real Good Food's executive chairman, said the company's results had been affected by its dispute with Associated British Foods' British Sugar arm.

However, he said the company's Napier Brown sugar division had seen its profits improve in recent weeks.

"After suffering the impact of our pricing dispute with British Sugar, we are pleased by the start we have made to the new sugar contract year in October, since when our Napier Brown business has returned to profitability. At the same time, Renshaw and Haydens Bakery have made excellent progress and are trading significantly ahead of the prior year," he said.

"Trading across the whole Group has been ahead of last year during October and November, with Renshaw and Haydens Bakery continuing to lead the way, and we look forward to a strong performance during the key Christmas period. We remain confident about the prospects for the group and are working on a number of new corporate initiatives, with a focus on delivering value to shareholders."

Real Good Food booked a loss of GBP4.7m for the six months to 30 September, compared to profit of GBP191,000 a year earlier.

It ran up an operating loss of GBP4.3m. A year ago, Real Good Food booked a first-half operating profit of GBP831,000.

Revenue fell 1.1% to GBP128.7m.

In September, the UK's competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority, announced it would not launch an investigation into Real Good Food's allegations of anti-competitive behaviour by British Sugar.

Earlier in the year, Real Good Food claimed British Sugar had "imposed" an "anti-competitive" sugar price on its Napier Brown, hitting profits at the unit. The company had initially lodged its complaint with the Office of Fair Trading prior to its amalgamation into the CMA. British Sugar had insisted it had "acted appropriately at all times".