The group said that household penetration of the company’s brands had also grown significantly over the past 12 weeks (Q1), due to increased demand.
The news follows the company posting positive preliminary results for the year ending 28 March 2020, which included only three weeks of the coronavirus pandemic. Group revenue was up 2.8% to £847.1m, with trading profit increased by 3.2% to £132.6m. It reduced net debt by £62m.
The group said it saw elevated levels of demand for its grocery portfolio throughout Q1 as households continued to experience few opportunities for eating occasions out of home.
Premier Foods put its success down to delivering consistently high availability of its product ranges through the supply chain, during the prolonged period of higher demand.
As a result, the company grew ahead of its categories in Q1, with particularly strong market share gains seen in flavourings & seasonings, quick meals, snacks & soups and cakes.
Premier Foods said it also benefited from more UK households buying its brands in Q1, as consumers expanded their range of home-cooked recipes and meals as lockdown restrictions continued. As a result, all the group’s major grocery brands delivered double-digit sales increases compared to the same quarter a year ago, with particularly notable performances from Ambrosia, Oxo and Sharwood’s.
New product ranges
Premier also saw demand for its new product ranges, particularly the newly launched Cadbury baking mixes that reflected a substantial rise in baking at home during Q1.
Alex Whitehouse, chief executive officer, said: “As expected, we continued to see strong demand for our grocery brands in Q1, with consumers eating the vast majority of their meals at home.
“We have grown faster than our categories during this period, both in standard retail and online channels. This reflects not only the strength of our market-leading brands, but also the excellent performance of our colleagues across the supply chain to ensure product availability while working in close collaboration with our customers to meet this elevated demand.
“We have also observed significant increases in household penetration of our brands in the quarter, as Britain has got cooking again and consumers expand their repertoire of dishes prepared at home. For example, we have seen two million new households buy our Sharwood’s products over the quarter.