THE parent company of Co Down artisan food manufacturer Finnebrogue has revealed that sales in the year to February soared by 22 per cent from £119.3 million to £145.3 million.
Lynn’s Country Foods, a major supplier to many of the UK’s top supermarkets, posted a profit increase (adjusted for exceptional items) of 4% from £7.7m to £8.1m.
Profit for the year after taxation and not including exceptional items in respect of a loss on disposal of assets amounted to £1,138,608.
Gross margin in the period fell from 25.9 per cent to 24.7 per cent.
The accounts show that while staff numbers fell slightly from 717 to 699, the wages bill rose from £17.1m to £19.5m, though the highest-paid director's overall package fell from £477,323 to £374,686.
The company has Standard Pig Price (SPP) agreements with all its major customers, whereby selling prices vary in line with market movements.
This, the directors says, is a contributory factor to an increase in sales and decrease in gross margin percentage.
A spokesman for Lynn’s Country Foods said: “We are happy to have continued our growth trajectory, but we are more pleased with the way in which the business has managed several significant headwinds.
“The unprecedented war in Ukraine and the inflation which ensued has presented immense challenges for all food businesses.
“Our razor-sharp focus on driving efficiencies in our business, while also producing the steady stream of innovation we are best known for, ensures we are in a robust position as we look optimistically towards the future.”
Lynn's Country Foods is under the ultimate control of the director and majority shareholder Christine Lynn, widow of the company's founder Denis Lynn, who died tragically in a quad bike accident in May 2021.
Meanwhile the Finnebrogue brand has worked with Asda to produce 10 new Christmas products, bringing its total number of listings to 36 across fresh meat, meat-free, chilled, frozen meat, and party food.
The new seasonal products are exclusive to Asda and will be available across the retailer’s stores across the UK, including truffle & parmesan pigs in blankets and brown butter & spiced rum stuffing wreath, Asda own brand jingle the reindeer pork, sage & onion rosy noses, cheesy pigs in blankets and mini hot dogs. It includes five new additions to Asda’s OMV vegan range.
Finnebrogue’s relationship with Asda began in 2014, when it secured a contract to produce gluten-free sausages.
Now it supplies all Asda own-label gluten free sausages, including just essentials, Asda brand, and extra special, three Asda brand nitrite-free bacon products, a selection of Plant Based by Asda & OMV! meat-free products, as well as a selection of fresh and frozen Christmas lines.
Barbara Mullan, product developer at Finnebrogue, said: “Our range of seasonal lines caters for all occasions during the festive period – from Christmas centrepieces and Christmas dinner accompaniments to party food essentials in both the fresh and frozen aisles.
“We also created a large selection of vegan & meat-free lines, catering for those who want to try something different this Christmas and for people who are reducing their meat consumption. We know the vegan roast dinner for one will be a welcome addition to those catering for only one meat-free diner at the table.”
Cathy Elliot, Asda’s buying manager for NI Local added: “We’re thrilled to see an extension of Finnebrogue's Christmas products launched into stores, with ten new lines available in the run up to the festive season.
“Our shoppers will be delighted with the addition of these new options for Christmas, bringing locally sourced products to the dinner table at this special time of year.”