A company with a factory in Consett, which specialises in making ready meals and other convenience foods, has announced an enormous increase in profits. 

Greencore Group says it has benefitted from carving out a greater share of the food-to-go market and from investments in new equipment. The company has also done well out of a deal to buy American convenience food specialists Peacock Foods.

Recently released figures show that – compared to one year ago – Greencore Group’s turnover has risen by 46% to £1.1 billion with profits up 27% to £55.3 million. 

The company says its sales of convenience foods across the UK and Ireland increased to £685.7 million, up 16.1%. 

Greencore Group claims it is the world’s largest manufacturer of sandwiches, but the Consett factory concentrates on producing ready meals, soups, quiches and sauces.

The company states that it churns out 140 million supermarket-own-label ready meals per year along with 40 million quiches. 

Greencore Group supplies a number of well-known brands including Bistro, Heinz, Ross’s, Mr Men, Weight Watchers, Doritos and Barbie. 

Greencore’s chief executive, Patrick Coveney, said, “This has been a transformational period for Greencore. Against a backdrop of considerable change across the group, we are pleased to be reporting strong growth.” 

“In the UK, we have delivered significant expansion and investment following new long-term business wins, as our food-to-go business continues to grow rapidly.”

The convenience food market in the UK certainly seems to be large. Research from the University of Manchester shows that the UK spends £2.6 billion on ready meals per year, which is more than any other European country.

Such meals are, however, not always good for the environment, with – for instance – a microwave lamb curry having an incredible carbon footprint of 6 kilogrammes of CO2. A homemade lamb curry, on the other hand, uses up 15% less carbon than the microwave variety.

(Featured image courtesy of Wapster, from Flickr Creative Commons)

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