Meat producer Cranswick maintains 2023 outlook on tight cost control

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(Reuters) – British meat producer Cranswick on Tuesday maintained its outlook for the current financial year and reported higher annual profit, while continuing to control costs linked to inflation, labor shortages labor and supply chain issues.

Cranswick, whose roots go back to a collective of pig farmers in Yorkshire, said the price of grain, which accounts for 60-70% of the cost of raising an animal, has jumped by more than 50% after the start of the Ukrainian crisis.

The crisis has exacerbated the woes of Britain’s meat industry and Britons are cutting meat consumption amid runaway inflation, even as the sector still grapples with a shortage of butchers after a labor slump caused by Brexit.

Cranswick called on the UK government to do more for the pig sector which he said was under “severe and unsustainable pressure” because of these challenges.

The company produces fresh pork, bacon, gourmet sausages, poultry items and continental foods. It mainly caters to the UK market, but also exports some products, and retail chains account for the majority of Cranswick’s sales.

Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarket group, said last week it had secured an extra £6.6million to support the country’s struggling pig industry.

However, Cranswick chief executive Adam Couch said trading in the new financial year had been in line with the board’s expectations.

“Despite the difficult operating conditions that we continue to experience, our outlook for the group for the current year is unchanged,” he added.

Adjusted pre-tax profit was 136.9 million pounds ($172.2 million) for the 52 weeks to March 26. Analysts on average had expected a profit of 136.3 million pounds, according to data from Refinitiv Eikon.

($1 = 0.7950 pounds)

UK inflation hits 40-year high of 9.0%, further compressing households

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Uttaresh.V)

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