Page last updated at 19:03 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Sizzling profits for sausage firm

Sausages
The sausage industry is bucking the current downturn

A Lanarkshire-based company that makes sausage skins and other food casings has reported a rise in pre-tax profit of 21%.

Devro said it was confident of its prospects in 2009 as consumers become increasingly cost conscious and swap their steak for bangers.

The firm employs more than 450 people at its two UK sites in Moodiesburn and Bellshill.

It reported full year pre-tax profits, before exceptional items, of 18.8m.

The company also has plants in the US, Australia and the Czech Republic and makes 1.6 billion sausage skins each year.

Bosses said they were benefiting from consumers trading down when it came to buying their meat.

People tend to move towards comfort foods during a recession. They tend to buy sausages, fish fingers, stew and soup."
Professor Alan Wilson
Strathclyde University

Managing director Alan Kilpatrick explained: "Sausage is a cost effective meal for families conscious of the current economy.

"Last year the sausage market in the UK was worth almost 600m and it grew by just over 2%."

Alan Wilson, professor of marketing at Strathclyde University's business school, said companies producing and selling foods at the lower end of the market often saw growth during recession.

He said: "People tend to move towards comfort foods during a recession. Foods that will fill them up quicker and remind them of their childhood. So they tend to buy sausages, fish fingers, stew and soup."

International growth

Devro chief executive Peter Page said: "We are very pleased to be supplying an industry that is in good shape.

"We are seeing growth in international markets and we are seeing our UK customers recognise the quality and the technical differences in our products compared with competitors."

He added: "We have very good relationships with our customers.

"We see them continuing to manufacture as they do at the moment and we don't foresee a significant change or downturn in the demand for food globally."

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