Rising costs hit margins at Cranswick in the past six months, the pork supplier confirmed yesterday.

The Tesco and Sainsbury’s supplier said pre-tax profits for the six months to 30 September were down from £23.8m last year to £18.5m.

That was despite sales for the period rising 3% to £393.9m, as shoppers opted for pork ahead of more expensive meats.

“It is pleasing to report continued growth in turnover in what continues to be a testing economic and consumer environment,” said Cranswick chairman Martin Davey.

“As previously reported, we faced significant increases in input costs during the first three months of the period. This had a material impact on margins and, despite some recovery during the second quarter, was a key factor in the reduction in pre-tax profits.”

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