Goodfella's pizza relaunch to boost Northern Foods

Image caption,
Northern Foods has reported healthy trading between April and June

Northern Foods, which makes Goodfella's pizza, says it hopes a £5m ($7.2m) brand relaunch will lift profits.

Northern, which holds either number one or two position in many of the UK's prepared food markets, also makes Fox's biscuits, as well as ready meals.

Its Fox's biscuit campaign, which features a panda called Vinnie, has helped to push that brand into second place in the country.

Northern says the new pizza campaign will initially raise its costs.

The company added, however, that it was important to continue investing in key brands through what it called "uncertain economic times".

Northern Foods also announced a 28% fall in pre-tax profits to £34m ($49m) for the past year.

The drop was largely due to changes in contributions to the pension fund.

Taking that out of the picture, profit was broadly flat at £54.6m.

The company's chief executive, Stefan Barden, said it had traded "solidly".

Northern Foods has just begun a 10-year contract to supply in-flight meals on some BA short-haul routes.

It also supplies most of the country's top supermarkets with ready-meals.

Sales to Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury, Morrisons and Marks and Spencer account for 77% of revenues.

The company is winding down some operations. It is in the process of closing its Hull site and is also planning to close its Ethnic Cuisine ready-meals site in Swansea, less than three years after buying the factory.

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