The Real Good Food Company (RGFC) saw total sales down 7% as its sugar business experienced the “toughest ever” financial year. Meanwhile growth in its bakery ingredients division Renshaw, beat its highest expectations.

Total group sales stood at £200.1m for the year ended 31 December 2010, compared to £215.6m in 2009. EBITDA remained at £5.6m, in line with the previous year.

The firm reported an EBITDA increase of 67% to £5.5m at Renshaw, as sales rose 13% to £43 million, with sugar paste a key driver across all markets.

“A particular focus on developing our export markets has proved highly successful, we reinforced our commercial and product development team during the year, and are planning to further develop our export management team in 2011,” commented chairman Pieter Totté. A Renshaw-branded range is also due to be introduced in the market place in May 2011.

RGFC said its sweet bakery manufacturer Haydens is continuing to grow sales, while also carrying out its restructuring and refurbishment plan. The opening of its new premises, adjacent to its existing bakery, is scheduled for May this year.

Totté said its Napier Brown sugar distribution business had been trading on the last stage of the EU sugar regime reform, during this financial year, “with a reference price drop of 28% over the 2008 level”.

From October last year however, it saw improved volumes and margins, pointing to the tightness in the EU market for the 2010-11 campaign and the subsequent rocketing of prices for the turnaround.

“In our view the tightness of the market that we started to see in late 2010 will continue into 2011 and 2012. World shortages of sugar have been well reported and this, on top of the EU shortage, will add to the volatility in the market-place,” commented Totté.

The firm said that two years ago the majority of its supply came from the UK, but this has begun to change. It now envisages over 50% of its supply will be imported by 2012. “We have been extensively researching new supply sources and have entered into a number of new supply agreements, some of them exclusive,” added the firm.

In October 2010 its Garrett dairy business was de-merged from Napier Brown, and re-launched under its original name Garrett Ingredients, in October 2010, to reflect the successful proposition and heritage in the dairy market.