Vion has announced "very encouraging" UK figures in its 2009 accounts, with performance ahead of targets.

UK sales rose from 1.5bn in 2008 to 2.4bn in 2009 as the full effect of the Grampian Country Foods acquisition set in. Overall group turnover rose from 8.5bn to 9bn.

The meat processor has undergone a wide-ranging consolidation process in the UK, but stressed it had also made significant investments in its business.

However, the company warned there were still major challenges, not least the need to achieve a better carcase balance.

Beef and lamb had suffered high supply and demand pressure, with shoppers switching to cheaper meats, Vion said.

Pork and poultry had benefited from being seen as good value, though raw material costs on pork had put extra pressure on the supply chain as pig prices increased and sterling remained weak.