UK cake maker Finsbury Food Group recorded an increase in first-half sales today (20 January), boosted by strong growth from the firm’s Genius and Vogel’s brands.

For the six months to 1 January, group revenue climbed 6% compared with the same period last year. Sales from Finsbury’s bread and ‘free from’ division accounted for the majority of the group’s growth and rose 14.5% on the year.

In December, the group, through its United Central Bakeries and Livwell subsidiaries, entered into a venture agreement with Genius Foods, its existing partner and owner of the Genius brand, to further expand its ‘free from’ product portfolio.

Sales in Finsbury’s cake division, meanwhile, rose 3.2% on the first half of last year, boosted by UK and export sales.

“We continue to steer a cautious path through difficult times,” Finsbury said in a trading update. “Our operating environment is constantly evolving but continues to be very challenging with commodity price and cost inflation pressures on one hand and fragile consumer confidence impacting spending on the other. Our internal efficiency programmes across the business remain key in our meeting these external challenges.

“Whilst the consumer and inflationary environment remains difficult to predict, we continue to see new product growth opportunities within our businesses and, after six months, are trading in line with expectations,” the firm added.

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The firm added that the German fresh egg dioxin scare at its Memory Lane cake business earlier this month, meant cakes were removed from shelves by retailers. As a result, Finbsury said its insurers have challenged recovery of any associated withdrawal costs.

Finsbury shares had dropped 0.8% to 24.3p at 10:05am BST today.