Batchelors products made in Ashford bounce back for Premier Foods as it reveals disappointing trading update

The maker of Mr Kipling cakes sweetened a disappointing trading update with some good news for its Batchelors soup manufactured in Kent.

Premier Foods, which employs 300 people at its Cup a Soup factory in Ashford, watched sales slip 3.1% in the three months to July.

However, its Batchelors products grew for a second consecutive quarter and regained its position as a market leader.

The Batchelors Cup a Soup factory in Ashford
The Batchelors Cup a Soup factory in Ashford

This reverses three years of decline at an average of 6%.

It put the turnaround down to the launch of a new Super Noodles pot product with Nissin and new flavours of its Pasta n Sauce range such as Smokey Cheese and Pancetta.

It said the first new products from its Nissin relationship have now delivered over £3 million in retail sales.

Bosses said the company’s cost reduction and efficiency programmes are progressing well.

Chief executive Gavin Darby said: “Our first quarter sales were lower than last year, as we expected, primarily due to lower sales volumes in the grocery categories, notably desserts.

“At the retail level we have continued to outperform our markets and industry peers, our international business grew 20% in the quarter, and our cost savings programmes are on track.

“We expect to report positive sales growth in the second quarter, broadly flat sales in the first half and our expectations to deliver progress in the full year are unchanged.”

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