Gluten-free products drive growth for Finsbury Foods

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Finsbury foods Wheat

UK bakery firm Finsbury Foods has announced improved revenues in its annual report stimulated by gluten-free offerings and a wider fresh bakery portfolio.

Results for the end of the tax year showed that revenue was up 12.6% on the previous year, taking the total to £189.6m (€219.8m). Before tax profit was also up 8.5% to £5.8m (€6.7m).

The company experienced bread and free form sales growth of 14.25% on last year, which brought sales for these goods to £50m (€57m). The company said that strong performance in this category was mainly due to investment in its Vogel brand and expansion of its free form product range as a result of work with gluten-free bakery firm Genius Foods.

Gluten-free boost

This partnership has allowed Finsbury Foods to seize a significant share of the gluten-free market.

The total free form gluten free market is worth £208m (€241m) and it grew 17% in the last year, according to figures from Kantar.

Finsbury Food’s bread, cakes and other gluten free bakery products account for £39m (€45.2m) of the market (18.7%). The firm’s sales represented a 21% rise on last year.

Company CEO John Duffy said: “The current year delivered strong growth in the fresh gluten free market for our Genius brand and an equally favourable outcome for our Vogels and Cranks brands in the speciality bread sector.”

He said the partnership with Genius Food established in January 2011 would allow Finsbury Food to expand its fresh bakery portfolio further still.

Commodity concerns

In response to the rising price of sugar, butter and wheat, Duffy said: “I foresee no respite in commodity or general cost inflation in the near term. Pressure, if anything, is likely to increase the impact of such factors, redoubling our efforts to alleviate price rises by focussing on internal efficiencies and productivity initiatives.”

Martin Lightbody, non-executive chairman, said: “Innovation and adaptability are paramount. Input price inflation is clearly a matter of concern, particularly in such a low margin industry. Commodities have reached record levels and have inevitably impacted on our operating margins.”

“Rising sales together with savings from efficiency projects have largely offset the impact of commodity price inflation but recouping costs has become an imperative,” ​he said.

However, he said that with consumer income falling and public sector cuts due to be fully implemented the next year would be a test.

The firm made no acquisitions over the past year, but Lightbody said Finsbury Food would look to stimulate growth through acquisitions when the economy improved.

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