Warburtons enjoyed another successful year in 2007, with profits and turnover up on the previous year.

The family-owned company’s pre-tax profits were £49m, £5.7m higher than 2006, despite "unprecedented volatility in both energy and raw materials", according to chairman Jonathan Warburton. Turnover for the same period was £414m, a growth rate of 11%.

In a statement, Warburtons said a "key feature of the year was a dramatic doubling in the price of UK wheat, due to the lower yields from the year’s harvest and worldwide demand pressures. With other increased costs in a number of areas, a selling price increase across the product range became unavoidable.

"This widening in distribution and increased selling price brought turnover growth of 11%, but due to the volatility in both raw materials and energy, the operating margin of the business was lower, at 11.4%."

The average number of employees grew to 4,494 from 4,077, as new plant and depots were commissioned.

l Warburtons is to launch a new Weight Watchers loaf to add to its existing range. The new Thick Sliced White loaf will be available from 14 August and will be supported by consumer PR and sampling.

The food weight loss sector in bakery products has seen year-on-year growth, up 17.4%, according to AC Nielsen’s April 2008 statistics.

"Consumers on weight management plans tell us that they would like to be able to eat quality, tasty food without having to compromise on taste," explained Sarah Miskell, category director at Warburtons.