Finance

Pigs in blankets will be on the Christmas menu – Cranswick

Pigs in blankets will be on the Christmas Day plate, one of the UK’s largest producers has vowed.

Pork specialist Cranswick is producing 60 million of the seasonal favourites, and customers are buying early, and in their droves.

Issues over CO2 supply and labour shortages had prompted scare stories about what may or may not make the plate for many, but chief executive of the Hull-headquartered FTSE-listed food giant has reassured shoppers.

Read more:Food producer Cranswick’s sales top lockdown highs as it looks set to become a £2b operation

It came as the business posted strong half-year results with significant growth above a remarkable period through lockdown last year.

Adam Couch said: “We are on course. We will have produced 60 million pigs in blankets, with a huge chunk of those out of Hull, so we are on track for it.

Adam Couch, CEO at Cranswick

“We have put products down in advance in anticipation of the Christmas rush, and people have started purchasing in greater numbers than ever before, earlier than ever before. We won’t be short of those products.”

The gas is used in both abattoirs immediately pre-slaughter of pigs and in packing to prolong shelf life of the product.

“The CO2 issue we managed pretty well, we have a robust supply chain but we’re not immune from all the challenges,” Mr Couch said. “Costs have gone up in that and other areas. We have considerate and understanding customer relationships, and having a supply of products on the shelf is extremely important.

“There have always been constructive discussions with retailers and that is important to us. We are not immune, but we have a really good management team, great colleagues across the business, and Hull has been testament to that to get those volumes out despite all the headwinds.”

Wage inflation has also been “managed well” within the business, with some 12,600 now employed. “We have a brilliant workforce, a very skilled workforce, and we welcome this,” Mr Couch said. “It results in us becoming a great prospect for people to come and work for.”

Revenues hit £993.1 million in the six months to September 25, up 6.4 per cent. Operating profit came in at £69.6 million, up 12.3 per cent.

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