UK pork giant Cranswick has seen sales soar over the first quarter of the year due to an increase in home consumption offsetting lower foodservice revenue.
Performance has been so strong that the firm has even been able to pay all factory-based staff a £500 bonus to recognise their roles as key workers.
Cranswick's latest trading statement showed revenue in the 13 weeks to June 27, 2020, was 24.8% ahead of the same period last year.
Excluding the contribution from acquisitions made in the prior year, revenue on a like-for-like basis was 19.2% higher.
Together with increased poultry sales from the new Eye facility, which continues to perform strongly and new contract wins, it has "comfortably" offset lower foodservice revenue.
Despite the ongoing disruption of Covid-19, bosses said the boost had continued into the second quarter of the financial year.
The firm said it had made a proactive and comprehensive Covid-19 action plan centred on keeping employees safe, feeding the nation and supporting its local communities.
A £500 bonus has been paid to site-based staff to recognise their essential key worker status and valued contribution throughout the pandemic.
Looking forward, however, the statement said it expected retail volumes would begin to normalise through the remainder of the year as consumers gradually resume eating out.
"Whilst the board remains cautious about the longer-term economic impact of Covid-19, the uncertainty
surrounding the ongoing Brexit negotiations and the conclusion of trade deals with other countries, the
outlook for the current financial year ending March 27, 2021, is now expected to be ahead of its previous
expectations," it read.
Cranswick chief executive Adam Couch said: “Our teams across the business have responded brilliantly during these extraordinary and unparalleled times, and I would like to thank them for their incredible support and hard work which has enabled us to continue to deliver premium food products with outstanding service to our customers.
We have made a strong start to the year. Whilst we remain cautious about the longer-term economic impact of Covid-19 and the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing Brexit negotiations, we are well-positioned to address these challenges.
"Our positive momentum reflects the continued investment we make across our asset base and the quality and capability of our colleagues across the business.”
Cranswick operates 16 sites across the UK, including the former Dunbia pig-processing site in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. The firm employs a total of 11,800 people.