HJ Heinz said its ketchup shipments were ahead 17% Stateside boosted by the success of its new upside down Easy Squeeze bottles for the sauce.

Group sales for the second quarter rose rose 6.4% to $2.6bn from $2.4bn a year ago, while Heinz's ketchup, condiments and sauces sales rose 9.4%.

Ketchup sales in Europe rose 4.4% as Heinz grabbed higher market shares in the UK, Germany and France. The company said it plans to introduce Easy Squeeze containers to Europe soon.

Frozen food sales rose 5.4%.

Heinz has been looking to strengthen its core brands since announcing it would sell its StarKist tuna, 9-Lives pet food and domestic baby food brands to Del Monte Foods in a $2.5bn deal, by December 20.

Heinz said it has increased advertising on its core brands by more than $100m this year to try to bolster consumer loyalty.