Trading at Northern Foods has been in line with expectations and in the 11 weeks to 18 September, underlying sales increased by 5.5% compared to the same period last year.

The company stated that it achieved particularly good sales growth with Tesco, Asda and Morrisons and it noted its underlying sales trends improved from late July once it passed the anniversary of loosing a major savoury products contract with Sainsbury.

Its ambient and frozen food operations made good profit progress during the first half but the profitability of some of its chilled operations remains unsatisfactory.

It will continue to look at consolidating production to increase it manufacturing efficiency and its expects it cost reduction and efficiency initiatives to result in an exceptional charge of around £45m this year.

Northern Foods also said that it expects trading for the remainder of the year to remain extremely competitive in view of the poor UK harvest and ongoing increases in energy prices.