The owner of Northern Irish snacks manufacturer Tayto has reported a boost in earnings despite a sales drop in a “challenging” market.

Tayto’s parent company Manderley Food Group reported a 2.7% drop in turnover to £174.2m for the year to 27 June 2015. All revenues were derived in the UK & Ireland and from snacks and crisps products.

Manderley’s group EBITDA rose 5.5% to £14.4m as a result of increased efficiencies and a trimming of distribution, selling and marketing costs.

Pre-tax profits were up 10.8% to £7.1m and reported profit was up 73% to £5m after its tax bill fell from £3.5m to £2.1m. The results represent a continued turnaround since the group posted a pre-tax loss of almost £16m in the year to 2 July 2011.

Despite the increase in earnings, directors warned “the crisps and snacks market continues to be challenging due to significant competition in the retail sector and pressure on consumers”.

Tayto said there remained a risk of volatility in raw material prices and availability, but that its active review of market prices “provides protection and maximises opportunities”.

Tayto said its strategic focus during the current financial year is on “continuing to build relations with suppliers and customers to look for ways to improve upon the productivity and efficiency gains already achieved”.

Average staff numbers fell from 1,419 in 2014 to 1,378 during the past year, though the bill for temporary workers to deal with increased seasonal demand rose 14% to £4.8m.