International food company IAWS Group this week announced that it has had a good start to 2007 with a "very satisfactory" performance achieved across the business.

The Delice de France and Cuisine de France owner’s interim results for the half year ended 31 January 2007, stated that Group revenue was 17.3% higher than last year at ?838.5m and group operating profit increased by 24.8% to ?57.3m.

The food division sales were ?463.5m, an increase of 27.4% year on year, and operating profit was ?45.5m compared with ?35.2m in 2006.

Strong growth was seen in all food markets, particularly in the US, where IAWS operates businesses including La Brea and Otis Spunkmeyer, which it acquired in November.

IAWS Group chief executive officer Owen Killian said: "IAWS is now a market leader in two complementary growth categories in the North American value-added bakery market."

Revenue in Food Europe, which comprises the Lifestyle Food businesses in Ireland, the UK and France, increased to ?317.8m, reflecting a revenue growth of 6.2% and an operating profit increase by 9.8% to ?30.9m.

IAWS said retail and food service were facing challenges due to increasing cost pressures from rent, energy, labour and raw materials.