Birds Eye shook off the impact of Horsegate to post a 15.8% increase in operating profit last year.
Accounts for Birds Eye at Companies House revealed the UK business’ operating profit grew to £84.7m for the year to 31 December 2013, up from 73.2m in 2012.
The profit boost came during the accounting period when Birds Eye was caught up in the horsemeat scandal after three of its ready meals tested positive for horse DNA in February 2013.
However, the company was less exposed than others and also subsequently pledged to source all its red meat from British and Irish suppliers. As a result, it saw “no significant impact” on its financial results from the affair, it said.
Parent company Iglo Group had previously stated Birds Eye had seen a small fall in sales during the year. But the Companies House figures suggest a 0.7% increase in revenues to £467.1m, with accounting factors such as intercompany sales included.
The increase in profitability was primarily down to cost control, with a 2.7% decrease in cost of sales for the year.
During the period, Birds Eye found cost efficiencies through incremental NPD, delivering cost savings at its Lowestoft supply operations and the delisting of a number of SKUs. Company headcount dropped by just six people, to 651.
In 2014, Birds Eye embarked on a £60m brand refresh, including a redesign of its logo and packaging. The company declined to comment on trading performance so far in 2014 or the market reception to its relaunched range.
However, commentary in the accounts described the frozen food sector as “highly competitive,” noting that multinational competitors “have significant financial resources to respond to and develop the markets in which both we and they operate.”