Cranswick has announced a 3% boost in pre-tax profits, bouncing back from difficult market conditions and high raw material costs last year.

The meat supplier said profits reached £48.4m in the 12 months to 31 March, up from £47.1m the previous year. Revenues rose by 8% over the period, from £758m to £821m.

“Against a background of strong raw material price increases early in the financial year and a continued challenging environment for the consumer, the company recovered strongly during the second half and recorded its highest-ever sales and second-best trading profit in its history,” said chairman Martin Davey.

He said Cranswick had worked closely with its customers to offer competitively priced products to consumers, resulting in smaller operating margins but improved sales.

Sales of fresh pork sales rose by 15% year-on-year, with schnitzel and escalope convenience products proving very popular, while sausage sales were up 12%, Cranswick said.

Bacon sales increased by 39% year-on-year, as the company increased its customer base and product range.

“New equipment has been installed and commissioned, which has significantly reduced the labour cost of producing diced bacon,” Cranswick said. “Our air-dried, dry-cured bacon now features in the premium tier ranges of the seven largest multiple retailers in the UK.  As well as developing new air dried hams, value wet cured or injected sliced products are being produced to service the ‘Butchers Choice’ tier.”