DAIRY Crest today said profits were slightly ahead of expectations after continued strong trading from key brands including Cathedral City.
The group’s improved guidance for the nine months to the end of December reflected a "strong performance" in the final quarter of 2009, helped by a further increase in sales of milk to supermarkets.
Since then it has benefited from the recent cold snap as increased demand caused a 17% spike in milk volumes in the first week of January.
Total sales were 1% lower in the nine months to December 31, reflecting lower sales of commodity ingredients and milk to non-major retail customers.
Its five key brands of Cathedral City, Country Life, St Hubert Omega 3, Clover and Frijj were supported by high levels of television advertising and promotions, helping sales of the brands to rise by 10% against a year earlier.
"Looking forward, we intend to continue to advertise, innovate and promote our key brands in order to maintain their impressive momentum," Dairy Crest said.