United Biscuits said group annual sales rose 3% on the back of product innovation and a 16% investment in marketing support.

The food manufacturer said sales of its key brands such as McVitie’s and Penguin biscuits were up 7.3%, while total branded sales including its seafood unit Young’s Bluecrest grew 3.9%.

Chairman and chief executive Malcolm Ritchie said growth was primarily achieved through the company placing increased marketing spend and innovation behind its priority brands and the continued implementation of its cost savings programme.

Looking forward Ritchie said: “Our focus will be upon further developing our market leading positions across Europe and we will continue to invest for the long term in brand-building, market development, innovation and quality.”