UK bakery and ingredients firm The Real Good Food Co. said trading activity in its third quarter had been “lower than anticipated”, with December proving “particularly challenging”.

Shares in the company were hit after the company reported a mixed performance from its business.

The company said that trading in the last three months of 2012 was in line with market conditions but admitted its performance in the fourth quarter, in particular the Easter period, will be “critical” to its annual results.

Sales in the firm’s Napier Brown sugar distribution division were lower than expected, it said. However, The Real Good Food Co. said it had entered into a contract to acquire a site at Immingham that will provide a facility for importing sugars more cost effectively globally.

The company’s dairy ingredients unit Garrett was affected by some “short-term volatility” in the market, resulting in reduced volumes, but continues to “broaden both its product offering and customer base”, the firm said.

Executive chairman Pieter Totté said The Real Good Food Co.’s “overall profitability” will be higher year-on-year.

Nevertheless, shares in the company slid today, down 15.26% at 40.25p at 13:54 GMT.