Cranswick’s long-standing CEO, Bernard Hogarth, stepped down at the agm this week as the company announced a 7.4% increase in sales for the three months to 30 June, driven by strong performances for sausages, Bacon and Continental products.

As revealed in May, he will be replaced by chief operating officer Adam Couch, although he will remain with the company on a part-time basis as commercial director.

Appointed CEO in 2004, Hoggarth has been with the company for 34 years and now plans to take advantage of his reduced workload to focus on other interests. Couch has been with the company for 20 years and became COO last year.

Commenting on its financial performance, the meat processor, which makes products for brands such as Jamie Oliver, The Black Farmer and Red Lion Foods, said trading during its first quarter had been in line with expectations, with sales of £209m.

The company said it was in a strong financial position, with net debt of £38m at the end of June, down from £55m last year, and that it had “committed, unsecured facilities of £100m”, providing further growth opportunities.

Pig prices in the three months to the end of June had increased modestly, but remained below their peak of last summer, it added. All product categories delivered “robust growth”, with “strong gains” across sausages, bacon and Continental.

The company’s acquisition last month of Kingston Foods had boosted its cooked meat production capabilities, it said.