The UK-based cake company Finsbury Food Group said that it has made “strong progress” in the year-to-date, thanks to a period of intense new product launch activity.

Speaking at the company’s AGM, Finsbury chairman Lord Saatchi said the group had increased its focus on premium and healthy cakes, driving 3.3% year-on-year sales gains at Memory Lane Cakes and a 15% sales increase at Nicholas & Harris. Saatchi noted that all of the Memory Lane growth occurred in the last 10-weeks after a slow summer season.

“In particular, the revamped retailer branded premium cake ranges – Tesco Finest and Sainsbury “Taste The Difference” – launched in September – have performed very strongly and second phase product development is already under way to keep these ranges as attractive as possible to consumers. Additionally, development activity has commenced with three other retailers and another is due to bring its new range to market imminently – again, we have been at the forefront of this work,” Saatchi commented.

He observed that the company has made “good progress” in implementing the recovery programme at United Central Bakeries following the fire at the end of October.

“With the continued growth of premium retailer brands in cakes and breads, and a strong Nestlé launch programme for January 2007, the prospects for the group remain encouraging. Our subsidiary management teams have successfully executed the group’s strategic aims and put us in the position where we can look forward to the rest of the year with confidence,” Saatchi said.