UK-listed Chinese sauce firm China Food Co. has insisted it has a “robust platform” for growth despite reporting a loss for the first half of the year.

A jump in selling and marketing costs pushed China Food Co. into the red in the six months to the end of June, with the company booking a loss of GBP2.3m (US$3.7m). A year earlier, China Food Co. made a half-year profit of GBP1m.

However, the company has invested in the marketing of its “premium” soya sauce brand Xaka. It said sales of Xaka had increased GBP2.2m in the first six months of 2012 from a “standing start”. Xaka sales helped group revenue increase 15.9% to GBP9.7m.

Chairman John McLean said: “Whilst the marketing expenditure in establishing the Xaka brand has impinged upon profitability, the Board believes that it has established a robust platform which will provide the Group with a much greater foundation for growth over the coming years.”

China Food Co., meanwhile, announced a number of board changes to help it grow. COO Feng Bo has been named CEO, replacing Raphael Tham, who will stay on as executive director to focus on “corporate activities”, including the sale of China Food Co.’s animal feed business.