Quorn-to-Branston group Premier Foods lifted half-year operating profits by 13 per cent as it prepared for a fresh drive into the baked bean market.
The group, which last month agreed a £450 million deal for the UK arm of Oxo and Homepride firm Campbell Soup, said a marketing push behind recent addition Quorn helped profits reach £41.7 million in the six months to July 1.
It is now planning a similar effort for Branston beans, which has already captured an estimated ten per cent share of the market after taking on rival Heinz.
Premier said it looked forward to the next stage in the development of the beans brand, with further TV advertising scheduled for this year.
The St Albans-based company achieved 15 per cent year-on-year sales growth in Quorn after launching new products and increasing advertising spend behind the meat-free brand, which it acquired for £172 million in June 2005.
Chief executive Robert Schofield said the number of households regularly buying Quorn rose to 19.3 per cent against 17.7 per cent for the same period a year ago.
He added: "It's not just vegans buying the brand but people who want to eat more healthily. We've got a long way to go yet."
The performance of Quorn, Branston and Loyd Grossman sauces meant sales in Premier's second largest division of convenience foods, pickles, sauces and meat-free rose by 30 per cent to £225.5 million.
Profits in the division increased by 32 per cent to £116.5 million, but without the impact of acquisitions the figure fell to £7.7 million from £12 million.
The sales of its Quorn-based foods underpinned a 3.1 per cent rise in like-for-grocery sales for the six months to July 1. Chief executive Robert Schofield said: "That's been driven by our big brands - Branston, Loyd Grossman and Ambrosia, but particularly Quorn."
Quorn is derived from an edible soil-mould and was developed by UK chemicals giant ICI in the 1960s.
Premier bought the brand in June last year for £172 million with plans to expand sales to a broader market.
Mr Schofield said its imminent acquisition of the UK and Irish arm of Campbell Soup Co for £460 million - adding Oxo stock cubes, Batchelor soups and Homepride flour to its stable of brands - would transform the group.
He said: "It'll make up a third of our sales and Batch-elors will instantly become our biggest brand."
Premier said that while the cost pressures that emerged last year had not gone away, and with energy costs "still an issue," it was handling them well.