The UK’s biggest biscuit maker United Biscuits suffered a drop in sales and profits last year due to “unprecedented challenges” in the category.

The Pladis-owned maker of McVitie’s and Jaffa Cakes saw sales drop 1.8% to £852.1m following strong Covid-driven growth in 2020.

Still, revenues were above the £833.4m posted in pre-Covid 2019.

“We experienced a significant uplift in sales in 2020, as consumers turned to trusted brands during the pandemic and consumption moved in home while in lockdown,” said a Pladis UK & Ireland spokesman.

The sales decline matched the wider biscuit category, which saw value fall 1.8% due to lapping the strong comparative performance of 2020, UB said.

Operating profits were also affected, falling 15% to £70.6m.

The company attributed the reduction in profitability to the continued impact of Covid, with demand and supply fluctuation creating a mix of challenges for the industry, from shipping disruptions to the short supply of packaging and an increase in the cost of key ingredients

“Combined with other global issues, such as mounting energy prices and labour shortages, it has presented unprecedented challenges,” the spokesman said.

“As a market leader in biscuits, we’re confident we’re taking the right steps to secure product supply despite the very challenging context to ensure our consumers continue to have access to and enjoy our biscuits, chocolate and snacks.”