UK pork processor Cranswick today (7 October) said it managed to record “strong” sales growth in the first half, despite the “challenge” of raw material price inflation.

In the six months to the end of September, turnover was up 15%, boosted by the contribution of Kingston Foods, acquired in June. “Modest” third-party sales from Wayland Farms, acquired in April, also contributed, Cranswick said.

As expected, Cranswick said pig prices increased during the first quarter, with prices increasing further during July to a “record high” and remaining at this level throughout the second quarter.

On-going efficiency improvements and “strong” volumes provided some mitigation, Cranswick said, but the extent of and time lag in recovering the higher input costs, are expected to result in operating profits for the first half being “broadly similar” to those of the corresponding period last year.

In its 2012 first-half, Cranswick recorded a 17% increase in operating profit to GBP22.8m (US$36.6m).

Click here to view the full trading statement.