Online petfood player Butternut Box saw a 50%-plus leap in sales last year as it built on pandemic demand, though losses grew due to investment in growth.

The dogfood subscription service saw sales jump 51% in the year to 26 December 2021 to £34.9m, building on the 114% growth seen in the previous period.

Growth was driven by new customer acquisition, positive customer retention and the launch of a wider product offering – underpinned by the completion of a new production facility.

The new facility, which “greatly” increases capacity, went online at the end of its first quarter. By the end of third quarter, the group was able to entirely cease its reliance on third party manufacturing.

However, the launch of the facility, along with higher marketing costs and increased headcount, saw its operating loss increase by 154% from £6.1m to £15.4m.

The company said operating costs as a proportion of revenue are expected to decline over time given the additional manufacturing capacity.

Meanwhile it retains a cash balance of £31.9m after raising £40m from investors, led by L Catterton, in August 2021.

Last month it announced it will double capacity and via new production lines at its Doncaster factory after securing a seven-figure funding package from HSBC.

“We’ve seen demand increase for our products. Customers resonate with our fresh, human-grade petfood offering, as well as our bespoke subscription plans.” said Ed Carey, CFO at Butternut Box.