THE new owner of the North Yorkshire company which manufactures meat substitute Quorn has unveiled profits of more than £90m.

Premier Foods, which bought Stokesley-based Marlowe Foods in a £172m deal last June, saw profits rise by 11.9 per cent after a year in which it made several acquisitions and faced "significant" rises in energy costs.

Premier's biggest move of last year saw it swallow up two makers of meat-free products.

In November, the company paid £27m for Cauldron Foods, which supplies supermarkets with vegetarian sausages, falafel, tofu and other products from its base at Portishead, near Bristol.

Its combined "meat-free" business saw sales of £49.6m - bolstered by television advertising. It said an extra 420,000 households were now eating Quorn than a year ago.

A mild autumn meant that soups and convenience meals were less in demand, while the rise in energy bills and in tin-plate used in packaging also dented profits. Its fresh produce sales slipped 29.3 per cent to £106.3m - a 91.2 per cent fall in the range's profits.