Icelandic firm Bakkavor claimed to be the UK market leader in speciality bread, wraps and pizza as it released results for the first nine months of 2006 last week.

The company said it was now market leader in nine of the 17 categories it operates in, and 82% of its business was in the UK.

Bakkavor acquired desserts specialist Laurens Patisseries this May and speciality bread company New Primebake in July. It bought the Geest fresh produce and convenience foods business in 2005.

It said sales of its chilled desserts were growing at five times the rate of the overall market, by 18.9% in value. This was due to its broad product mix in growing areas such as family-sized desserts, it said.

A focus on consumer trends, such as the demand for traditional Italian pizza, meant Bakkavor’s pizza sales were also well ahead of average sales growth, it said.

The group’s sales growth in speciality bread was hit by a fire in April 2005, which destroyed facilities at a former Geest site. The acquisition of New Primebake was improving its position, it said. The group is still waiting for an insurance payout following the fire and expects to get around £20m.

Pre-tax profit was up 69% to over £46m in the first nine months of this year. Sales were up 89% to over £890m. Bakkavor also announced it is dropping the Geest name and the business will use a new look Bakkavor corporate identity.