The end of Covid stockpiling saw Heinz sales tumble in the UK last year, but revenues remained above pre-pandemic levels thanks to a strong performance from ketchup and infants.

Sales in the 52 weeks to December 25, 2021 fell 3.4% to £797.9m, from £825.7m in 2020, according to newly released HJ Heinz Foods UK accounts at Companies House.

Heinz said the numbers represented a “strong” performance, given that the previous year’s numbers had been inflated by panic buying at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sales remained up 6.3% from the pre-pandemic year of 2019 as at-home consumption levels continued to be high.

This more than mitigated a 16% decline in foodservice sales from pre-pandemic levels as the hospitality industry remained disrupted during periods of 2021.

Heinz said performance was boosted by business gains in tomato ketchup – up 2% year on year and up 27% from 2019 – and a 10% increase in sales across its portfolio. infant.

The accounts stated: “The company continues to demonstrate its resilience in the face of economic uncertainty, [which] This seems unlikely to change in the short term as the UK continues to negotiate terms after leaving the EU, with associated risks to consumer confidence and further cost inflation.

“The company continues to work hard to mitigate the possible impacts of these risks.”

Despite rising input costs, gross margin remained stable at 29.8% as cost of sales and administrative expenses decreased. This helped pre-tax profits rise 11% to £146.9m despite lower overall sales.

Kraft Heinz’s second-quarter global accounts said the consumer giant raised global prices 12.4% to mitigate rising input costs, while a 2.3% drop in volume led an organic increase in net sales of 10.1%.

In June, The Grocer revealed that Heinz and Tesco were in a row over price increases, leaving the retailer’s shelves stripped of Beanz and Ketchup products.

Two weeks later, Tesco and Heinz issued a joint statement, announcing that they had “reached an agreement which will see the full range of Heinz products revert to Tesco”.

Kraft Heinz has not commented on its performance in the UK.