Northern Foods’ bakery division’s performance improved in the first half of the year, according to its interim results statement. Revenue increased to £97.6m from £91.4m for the 2007/08 period. Profit from operations also rose to £6.5m compared to £4.4m last year.

“Selling prices increased by 4% as we successfully recovered commodity inflation, and volumes increased by 2.8%,” said the statement. The company added that the premiumisation of the Fox’s brand has helped drive operating margin improvement. “Biscuits represent a significant opportunity for Northern Foods with our commitment to invest in the Fox’s brand showing early benefits.”

It said Christmas retailer orders for puddings were encouraging. “In the second half, we are launching a range of sponge puddings, including a new brand, ‘Scrummie’, to help support our all-year-round business,” said the statement.

The company’s total revenue rose 6.8% to £468.6m (2007/08: £438.6m), but profit before tax fell to £16.9m from £20.1m last year, which it stated was due to currency and pension changes and investment in its brands.