Hilton Food Group has said that trading in the year to date has been 'in line with the board's expectations', with sales up on the previous year due to the increase in raw material prices.
In a trading statement to coincide with its AGM this week, Hilton said that its Europe business reported turnover ahead of the previous year, again mainly driven by higher raw material prices.
Added-Value Fresh Foods
'While higher prices have had some effect on volume, this has been partly mitigated by strong growth in our Central European markets due to the continued success of added-value fresh foods as well as in our slow cooked products business in the UK,' it said.
The group has also benefitted from its expansion in fish and plant-based proteins, particularly in the Scandinavian market, it noted.
In the out-of-home food market, the group's Fairfax Meadow business performed 'in line with expectations', it said, with trading business Hilton Food Solutions 'performing well'.
In Australia, the group reported an increase in turnover, with volumes at its Queensland facility ramped up last year, with the consolidation of the Bunbury and Truganina businesses. In New Zealand, volumes were also up, helped by its expansion into fish products.
Higher Input Prices Likely To Impact
Looking ahead to the remainder of the year, Hilton said that the outlook remains 'challenging', with the business anticipating higher input prices having an impact on volume.
'The group’s financial position remains strong, having put in place committed facilities to cover announced expansion plans with some headroom for further growth,' it said.
'Hilton continues to explore opportunities in which to invest and to grow the business both domestically and in overseas markets in addition to a number of growth options with our