SYDNEY, AAP – Poultry producer Inghams has increased first-half earnings by 34 per cent as shoppers filled their fridges with chicken and turkey to eat at home during the pandemic.

Inghams on Friday reported net profit after tax of $35.3 million, helped by shoppers stocking up at supermarkets in the six months to December 26.

Sales across all channels, including food service, retail, restaurants and wholesale, grew by four per cent to $1.36 billion.

The company noted Victorians were keen customers during the state’s tough coronavirus restrictions last year.

Chief executive Jim Leighton said the results came despite higher feed prices, and the partial closure of poultry export channels following biosecurity issues in Victoria.

Inghams also produces stockfeed for animals, as well as pet food.

Shareholders will receive a fully franked interim dividend of 7.5 cents per share, slightly better than the previous fully franked interim payout of 7.3 cents per share.

Shares were higher by 2.9 per cent to $3.72 at 1147 AEDT.