Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods has reported market share gains in cake and ambient desserts amid a slight decrease in sales in its last quarter. 

In the 13 weeks to 4 July 2015, branded sales were down 1.4% and group sales down 1.6% to £166.2m, with decreases attributed to the timing of Easter this year.

The statement said the group’s branded sales mix was slightly higher at 90.3%, while gross margins in the quarter were in line with the prior year. Non-branded sales were £0.5m lower, with a strong performance in sweet treats offset by declines in the grocery category.

Gavin Darby, chief executive, said: “We are encouraged by the continued good volume and value response of our brands in those areas where we have focused our investment, although branded sales in the quarter were impacted by the earlier timing of Easter.

“While the business environment remains challenging, our expectations for the year, including a significant reduction in net debt, remain unchanged.”

Premier Foods will launch a number of new Cadbury products later this year – Cadbury Hot Cakes and Cadbury Amaze Bites, “which have received a very encouraging response” from major customers. The launches will be supported by a TV campaign.

Brand investment will continue across the portfolio, with consumer marketing spend set to “increase materially” in 2015/2016.

The statement said: “While we expect the trading environment to remain challenging, our expectations for the year, which include a significant reduction in net debt, are unchanged.”