Sugar and bakery specialist The Real Good Food Company (RGFC) has appointed the former MD of British Sugar, Gino De Jaegher, as its new COO.

De Jaegher, who has been working with RGFC since September 2012 on a consultancy basis, will take the helm with immediate effect, assuming responsibility for the day-to-day operation of the Group.

Executive chairman Pieter Totté said the appointment would enable him to concentrate on the strategic and commercial development of the Group overall, which owns sugar distributor Napier Brown and the Whitworth sugar brand, bakery ingredients Renshaw and R&W Scott, Haydens Bakery and dairy ingredients division Garrett Ingredients.

“I feel confident that we now have a structure in place which will enable us to develop our businesses to achieve our growth targets,” he said. 

The news came as the company reported “mixed” results in its third-quarter trading. It reported year-on-year growth across its three bakery divisions, but trading in its sugar business had been impacted by the “dramatic” rise in sugar market prices, despite increased sales.

However it said progress had been made in addressing this problem, with new sugar contracts secured and a new site at Immingham virtually complete. “This will enable the business to utilise new sources of sugar more cost effectively, which is critical to our future business model,” it said.

Sales of Napier Brown increased “significantly” over the year, it said, and it remained confident that steps already implemented would mitigate sugar trading impact and restore margins to previous levels during 2014. 

“The instability in the sugar market is giving us short-term challenges but our strategic plans in this market remain sound and we are encouraged by the support being given to us by customers who recognise the valuable role we play in the market,” Totté said.