Sausages and bacon choice boosts Hilton
DEMAND for more and better bacon and sausages in Ireland helped boost UK-based Hilton Food's first-half turnover, the company said.
Hilton, which is Europe's biggest packer of red meat and owns state-of-the-art meat packing facilities in Drogheda, the UK, Sweden and Poland, said sales rose to £450m (€540m) in the first half of this year from £427m in the same period last year, as consumers started buying better cuts of meat.
"The further progress of recent new product launches remains encouraging," chief executive Robert Watson said. "The bacon, sausage and gammon business in Ireland has grown strongly and sales of spreadable meat products have progressed well in Holland."
The company, whose customers include Tesco, said trading remained strong across markets in Western and Central Europe amid signs that consumers had moderated their belt-tightening.
"The effect of consumers trading down in relation to their meat purchases to mince and less expensive meat cuts, which was a key trend over the previous year, was not a material feature over the first 28 weeks of 2010," said Mr Watson.
Hilton is expanding in Central Europe and the Baltic states. The company already supplies Tesco in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, and Royal Ahold stores in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Any expansion with Tesco into new markets "would definitely be outside Europe" and Hilton Food would continue to "have an eye" on potential growth with Ahold in the US, Mr Watson added.