United Biscuits posted a 2.2% increase in interim sales to £644.5m which it attributed to product innovation and marketing support.

The biscuit and snack manufacturer said half-year sales of its key brands were up 5.8% and total branded sales, which accounted for 86% of the group’s total sales, were up 3.1%.

Marketing investment increased by 9.8% in the first six months of the year, with the company planning a greater increase in the second half of the year.

Chairman and chief executive Malcolm Ritchie said he believed product innovation and marketing support were the keys to UB’s growth. “The commitment I made to invest in these areas, when I announced our 2001 full-year results, is now reaping rewards.”

Ritchie added that he is “encouraged” by the improvement in profitability at the group’s businesses in northern and southern Europe.