UK food producer Cranswick has announced a sales spike in the first half of its financial year.

In a trading update for the six months to 30 September, Cranswick said increased demand for pork in the UK and overseas accelerated in the last few months, resulting in a 3% rise in volumes in the first quarter and 7% in the second quarter. Underlying turnover in the half year was 6% ahead of the same period in 2010.

Cranswick attributed the increase in sales partially to the “versatility and the low relative price of pork to other proteins”.

The company’s export sales were “particularly strong” in the Far East. The US market also saw growth following the fresh pork facility in Hull receiving US department of agriculture accreditation in April.

Cranswick also pointed to an increase in sales of pastry products. Shore Capital analyst Darren Shirley said Cranswick’s pastry business offers “significant medium-term potential” for the company following “encouraging” trials with Tesco and a recent launch into a premium retailer.

Overall, Shirley described the update as “reassuring” but forecast an EBIT of GBP18.7m (US$28.9m), a 23% reduction year-on-year, caused by “significant raw material price inflation”. In July, Cranswick issued a profit warning over “extremely challenging” market conditions.

In the wake of today’s trading update, Cranswick shares rose 3.25% to 63.5p at 12:19 BST.