Half year results from Tate & Lyle plc for the six months to 30th September 2019 revealed an 11% increase in its Food & Beverage Solutions profit to £90million.

Nick Hampton, the company’s chief executive, said: “We made encouraging progress in the first half. In Food & Beverage Solutions, increased focus on pricing and mix management delivered strong growth. Profit from Primary Products was lower despite good performance from our manufacturing and supply chain network as market conditions continued to be challenging. Both divisions benefited from productivity gains and cost discipline.

“Cash generation was higher and during the half we took further actions to strengthen our balance sheet. Our priorities to sharpen the focus on our customers, accelerate portfolio development and simplify the business are driving momentum across the organisation and supporting performance. We are also proud to have established an important programme to support sustainable agriculture for US-grown corn. Overall, the business is in a strong financial position and delivering clear strategic progress. Despite market challenges, our outlook for the year ending 31st March 2020 is unchanged and we continue to expect earnings per share growth in constant currency to be broadly flat to low-single digit.”

However there was a 1% decrease in its Sucralose profit to £29million. Sucralose or SPLENDA® is a high potency sweetener that starts life as table sugar (sucrose) and is then processed to create sucralose – 600 times sweeter, but without the calories. Tate & Lyle is the sole manufacturer of SPLENDA,® which was invented over 40 years ago.

In the company’s financial statement it said it hoped to mitigate the decrease and address the ongoing opposition to use of sugar in some quarters: “We expect continuing progress in Food & Beverage Solutions and gains from productivity initiatives to offset both lower Sucralose profits and continued market challenges in our primary products. As a result, we expect earnings per share growth in constant currency to be broadly flat to low-single digit.”