Premier Foods, the company behind the Hovis bread brand, today said its fourth-quarter trading had been “in line with its expectations”.

 In a very brief trading update, the under-fire food group said it had continued to see “growth momentum” behind its Power Brands, despite a “challenging” market.

The company said its preliminary results, due to be released on 21 February, would be in line with market expectations.

Commenting, Michael Clarke, Premiers chief executive, said: “While the market continues to be challenging, I’m encouraged by the progress we have made in 2012. This provides a solid platform to continue our growth momentum.”

Premier Foods has endured a torrid time of late and, last week, announced it would have to end its 100% British wheat pledge – following the awful weather in 2012 and the poor resulting harvest.

Iwan Williams, managing director of Premier Foods’ bakery division, including the Hovis bread brand, resigned from his position last November and the group also revealed plans to close two of its older bakeries in London and Birmingham.