Finsbury Food’s sales rise on cake exports and gluten-free growth

By Oliver Nieburg contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Gluten-free bakery products, Gluten-free food market, Gluten-free diet

Finsbury Food’s sales rise on cake exports and gluten-free growth
UK-based bakery firm Finsbury Foods has announced improved sales in a trading update for the full financial year today as exports in its cake division are helped by its European joint venture and gluten-free products excel.

The company reported total group sales of £207m for the period, up 9.4% on last year.

JV helps cake exports rise

Cake division sales rose 9.2% versus last year to £152m. The company said that growth in this segment was driven by its Lightbody Europe joint venture business, which accounted for half of this growth, particularly in export markets.

Finsbury acquired a 50% stake in Lightbody in 2007 for ​£37.5m (€56.6m).

Bread sales up on strong gluten-free market

Sales in the firm’s bread and free from division also grew. Finsbury recorded 10% improved sales on the prior year to £55m on the strength of a growing fresh gluten free market and the company’s speciality Vogel's brand.

The company claims to be the market leader in gluten in gluten-free bakery in the UK.

Market analysts Mintel previously said that fresh gluten-free bakery products are attracting interest in the UK amid rising demand from consumers beyond coeliacs.

Datamonitor valued the UK gluten-free food market at $374.2m (£241m) in 2010 and foresaw significant growth in the subsequent five years.

Egg and sugar pressures

Despite Finsbury’s market position in this high growth market, the company did note some challenges during its financial year.

It said that ingredient inflation on sugar and eggs had led to price hikes and it had invested in efficiency initiatives to minimise the impact on margins.

The industry has reported egg shortages and high prices in the EU following a ban on battery cage hens introduced this year.

In addition, EU sugar users have reported constrained supplies and high prices as sugar quotes still exist ahead of the Commission’s proposed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms.

Acquisitions

John Duffy, Finsbury chief executive said: "The Group has come a long way to achieve annual sales of over £200m for the first time despite very challenging market conditions.

“With no let-up in market conditions anticipated we continue to invest in growth areas and improved efficiency to maintain this success."

The company is eyeing bolt on acquisitions to foster this growth.

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