Chilled foods group Geest said interim sales rose 10% and it expects further growth as consumer demand for convenience is supported the multiples’ investment in the c-store sector.

For the period to June 28 pre-tax profit slipped to £17.8m from £18.2m as turnover rose to £422.9m from £383.2m.

Chairman Sir John Banham said the recent hot weather saw unusually high demand for salads although this was tempered by restricted availability of raw materials.

Banham added that while start-up costs will be lower than last year, the group was experiencing “significant material cost inflation”. To counter this Geest will seek “selective price increases”.

In Continental Europe, sales of fresh prepared foods rose 50% to £36m, boosted by the acquisition of Crudi which supplies fast food giant McDonald’s.