Kingsmill owner Allied Bakeries achieved a substantial increase in sales volumes for the 16 weeks ending 2 January, “although pricing and margins remain challenging”.

Allied Bakeries’ parent company, Associated British Foods (ABF), reported that its group revenue for the 16 weeks ending 2 January was 3% ahead of the same period last year at constant currency. It was 2% behind at actual exchange rates.

Against a backdrop of declining UK retail prices for bread, Allied Bakeries said that the “challenging” UK bread market and lower bread prices had resulted in lower profitability. This was despite the Kingsmill brand being relaunched last May, and revenues from Sandwich Thins continuing to build following their 2014 launch.

ABF-owned AB Sugar reported “good progress” with the UK crop for the 2015/16 season. After its record crop of 1.45 million tonnes in 2015, a smaller area was contracted for cultivation this year.  With a return to more typical beet yields, sugar production is predicted to be just short of 1.0 million tonnes. 2015/16 is forecast to be the first year of global sugar deficit for five years, which has resulted in some improvement in world prices.