It said in a trading statement that the current shift towards greater in-home consumption had made retail demand “exceptionally robust”.
This, together with increased poultry sales from the new Eye facility, which continues to perform strongly and the benefit from new contract wins, ‘comfortably’ offset lower food service revenue. Cranswick added the positive performance had continued during the second quarter of the financial year.
Foodservice suppliers were heavily hit by the impact of the sector’s shutdown due to coronavirus. The effect on meat and dairy foodservice suppliers caused a growing crisis that farmers urged the Government and the whole supply chain to address.
The reopening of the foodservice and catering sector in July has also fuelled a change in demand for ingredients as venues streamline menus in the wake of coronavirus.
Cranswick said trading in the first quarter of its financial year had been strong, with revenue in the 13 weeks to 27 June 2020 up 24.8% ahead of the same period last year. Excluding the contribution from acquisitions made in the prior year, revenue on a like-for-like basis was 19.2% higher.
It added that following the exceptional demand experienced in the first quarter, retail volumes were expected to begin to normalise through the remainder of the year as consumers gradually return to eating out of home.
The board said it remained cautious about the longer-term economic impact of COVID-19, uncertainty surrounding continued Brexit negotiations and the conclusion of trade deals with other countries. However, it said the outlook for its current financial year ending 27 March 2021 was now expected to be ahead of its previous expectations.
“Our teams across the business have responded brilliantly during these extraordinary and unparalleled times and I would like to thank them for their incredible support and hard work which has enabled us to continue to deliver premium food products with outstanding service to our customers,” said Adam Couch, chief executive officer of Cranswick.
“We have made a strong start to the year. Our positive momentum reflects the continued investment we make across our asset base and the quality and capability of our colleagues across the business.”
In May, Cranswick revealed that three of its staff at the Wombwell plant in Barnsley, had lost their lives to COVID-19. The company said it was providing full support to their families and other staff directly affected by the coronavirus.
Earlier this year, Cranswick acquired the Buckle family’s pig farming and rearing operations as it continued its pursuit of self-sufficiency in UK pigs.
Cranswick was also recognised as one of the global leaders in animal welfare, according to a new report published on 2 April.