Greencore has grown its sandwich sales ahead of the market as its Convenience Foods division achieved ‘constant currency’ sales growth of 4.3% in the half year to 25 March 2011.

Its Food to Go business, which comprises the manufacture of fresh sandwiches, salads and sushi, saw sandwich sales value increase by 8.4% compared to the overall market growth figure of 2.6% (based on Kantar Worldpanel data for the 23 weeks ended 23 March 2011).

Sandwiches volumes rose 5.6%. The firm said its value sales grew in excess of volume, due to “commodity price inflation impacting the sales price, the cost impact of a move to cardboard and a modest ‘trading up’ by consumers”.

CEO Patrick Coveney, said the sandwich growth had been achieved through doing more business with existing customers, extending its channel footprint, and adding new retail customers.

“Interestingly, we’re not seeing any down-trading in sandwiches,” he added.

Its Cakes and Desserts business experienced a challenging first half of the year, due to “excess industry capacity”, rising raw materials costs and increasing levels of promotional activity. Greencore added that sales were consistent with the same period last year.

Ministry of Cake, its Foodservice Desserts and the smallest category within Convenience Foods, had a “solid” performance in the first half of the year, experiencing a modest sales decline. However the firm said its performance was in the context of a challenging market, significantly impacted by the very cold winter.

The firm saw total group sales of €442m (£384m), representing a 7.9% increase in year-on-year reported sales and a 4.4% increase on a constant currency basis.

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