The drop in operating profit – down to £27m from £32m the previous year – was balanced by a 7% growth in sales for the company, fuelled by the rise of vegan and flexitarian lifestyles among consumers.
However, growth for the manufacturer was stunted by a factory fire in June and a need to add additional capacity to meet growing demand.
Commenting on the results, Quorn Foods chief executive Kevin Brennan (pictured) said: “Today’s results reflect the strong momentum we’ve seen since 2016. While it’s important that Quorn continues to grow, it’s vital that we do so in a sustainable way.
“As we continue to make progress, it’s clear that now is the time to invest heavily in research and development to ensure we lead the world in delivering great solutions to the climate issues associated with meat production.”
The investment into R&D has paid dividends in the first half of 2019, with the launch of its new Fishless Fillets range already exceeding its sales expectations and a range of 10 ‘cupboard friendly’ convenience foods set to hit shelves in June.
Quorn also saw success internationally, with several of its key markets in growth in 2018. Sales in Australia grew 38%, while sales in the US were up 24%. Investment overseas has also seen more uptake of its products by retailers, with its partnership with US grocery chain Kroger the most notable.
“In a market where $2.3bn (£1.8bn) of chicken nuggets are sold every year, the fact that Quorn nuggets are the fastest-selling product within the meat-free category in Kroger is testament to the superiority of our products,” Brennan added. “It highlights the great opportunity we have in the US market, where we expect sales to grow by 45% in 2019.”
Quorn Foods 2018 full-year results
- Operating profit down 15.63% to £27m
- Sales grew 7% to £220m
- £5m spend on research and development
- Successful launches of meat-free ham and chicken slices, as well as the vegan sausage roll in Greggs