Cadbury CEO Todd Stitzer promised further innovation this year as the company unveiled results showing that when times are hard, consumers don't tighten their belts - they reach for the sweets.

Stitzer credited a 6.5% uplift in sales to £1.65bn across its Britain, Ireland, Middle East and Africa business to the return of Wispa, the launch of Creme Egg Twisted and extensions to Dairy Milk.

The results, which showed UK sales up 5% and global pre-tax profit up 30% to £559m on sales up 15% to £5.38bn, reflected the company's resilience, he told The Grocer. "When people are economically challenged they reach for familiarity," he said, singling out Wispa, which has generated more than £25m sales since its September relaunch. "It struck a chord with consumers and we continue to see it revitalising our brand portfolio."

Since Creme Egg Twisted was launched last May, it had generated almost £15m in sales. The Apricot Crumble and Cranberry Granola extensions to Dairy Milk in August had also performed strongly.

While the market for gum fell 8% last year, Cadbury's sales had grown 10% he said, in a side swipe at Mars-Wrigley. "Our gum business has shown growth and is benefiting from innovation. We have further innovation in gum in the UK and US market this year," he said.