- Grocery foods maker Premier Foods booked a 39% drop in first-half profit after an easing of lockdowns prompted people to stop cooking as many meals at home.

Pre-tax profit for the six months through September fell to £30.7 million, down from £50.5 million year-on-year, though was still around double the figure posted two years' prior.

Revenue slid 6.5% to £394.1 million, but was up 7.5% versus two years' prior.

Adjusted pre-tax profit fell by a more modest 2.9% to £46.4 million, given that the bottom line had benefited a year prior from a one-off gain on the sale of the Hovis business.

Premier Foods continued to chip away at its debt pile, which had shrunk to £345 million by the end of September, down 14% year-on-year.

The maker of Mr Kipling cakes and Bisto gravy said it had made 'very good strategic progress' in the first half, with revenue ahead of expectations.

It added that it was 'firmly on track' to meet profit expectations for the full year.

'As we look ahead to the second half of the year, we will be launching a range of insight-driven new products and supporting six of our key brands with advertising,' chief executive Alex Whitehouse said.

'We will expand our presence in adjacent new categories, building on the initial success of Cape Herb and Spice and Oxo Rubs & Marinades, as well as bringing to market premium Mr Kipling biscuits and a range of branded Ice cream.'

'We will also continue to develop our overseas businesses including the full roll-out of Mr Kipling in Canada and the test launch of Mr Kipling in the USA.'

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