Dairy Crest has revealed that its first half performance had been solid and said that it expects results to be in line with expectations.

In a pre-close trading statement the group said its Cathedral City and Country Life brands had performed strongly, adding that the Country Life brand had been extended into both the cheese and organic milk categories.

The company said that sales of its branded spreads have been flat, with a weak performance from its Utterly Butterly and St. Ivel Gold brands offsetting growth of the Country Life brand.

In cheese, the company’s Cathedral City cheddar brand delivered double-digit growth during the half. However, Dairy Crest said that there has been some downward pressure on cheese pricing, mainly at the commodity end of the market, as a consequence of higher industry cheese stocks.

In the dairy category Dairy Crest said it continues to focus in increasing margins in its milk retail unit, while the company said that the doorstep delivery business was boosted by the acquisition of Midlands Co-op Dairies and Arla London Foodservice.

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Dairy Crest said that it expects to reep the rewards from its recent acquisition of the Express Dairies business from Arla Foods and the proposed sale of Dairy Crest’s own label cheese business in the second half of the year.