Irish food group Greencore said that 2003 was “a very successful year for the company” with like-for-like sales of its chilled foods up 6.5%.

At the group’s AGM, chairman Ned Sullivan noted that price inflation for raw materials was a key concern for all UK food producers. He explained that Greencore’s UK convenience food businesses would spend some 350m euros in the current financial year on raw materials with inflation of 5% on average in those markets.

The group will offset these increases through product reformulation, efficiencies, supply chain improvements and through price increases, Sullivan said.

Greencore said that pre-tax profit for 2003 was up 7%, whilst net debt was reduced by 133m euros.