Watton-based Cranswick’s excellent year for pork products

Investment in Cranswick's Norfolk site is paying off as the company said it has had an 'excellent' year for pork products.

The company - which has a factory in Watton - saw its pre-tax profits increase 3pc to �48.4m in its results published today while revenue increased 8pc to �821m.

In the chairman's statement, Martin Davey said that fresh pork sales had increased 15pc.

'The continuing capital expenditure programme has seen the commissioning of the new breaded line at the Norfolk plant with the capability to produce a range of escalope and schnitzel products for the convenience sector. These new, whole muscle, reformed or stuffed 'cordon bleu' style products are proving extremely popular, thanks, in no small part, to the very competitive price of pork compared to most other proteins. This price advantage led to the Group's most successful Christmas trading period for its fresh pork, premium sausage and bacon products.'

The company is undergoing further investment in its fresh pork site in Hull.

Mr Davey said: 'Sales to Far Eastern markets have continued to gain momentum. Exports both to Europe and further afield are becoming areas of increased focus for the Group. In the UK, the company has continued to increase its customer base, both in standard pork and in niche areas such as the pedigree Gloucester Old Spot fresh pork products, which are being produced specifically for one of the group's large retail customers.'

Mr Davey also said in the results that the company's second sausage production facility in Norfolk was now complete and performing well.

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'A new range of products under the 'Norfolk Sausage Company' banner was launched, focusing on a real value offering with larger packs and an impactful promotional programme,' he said.

Reflecting on the group's results Mr Davey said: 'Against a background of strong raw material price increases early in the financial year and a continued challenging environment for the consumer, the company recovered strongly during the second half and recorded its highest ever sales and second best trading profit in its history.

'Underlying sales rose 10pc in the year and reflected growth across most product sectors.

'Cash flow in the period was robust notwithstanding the investment in the Company's asset base of �20 million to expand production capacity, improve efficiency and broaden the product range.'

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