The Co-operative Group’s food division is to embark on a drive to push British food products, as it revealed profits and like-for-like sales up sharply for the 28 weeks to July 28.

The Co-operative Group, which completed a£9 billion merger with United Co-operatives in July, will launch a TV and press campaign next week promoting British products. National flags will feature on packaging and point of sale material.

The campaign will focus on a broad range of food and issues, such as the fact that all fresh meat in the premium range is sourced from the British Isles.

Guy McCracken, chief executive of Co-operative Group’s food division, said: “The main theme is about getting behind our support for British producers.”

For the 28 weeks to July 28, the Co-operative Group’s food division posted profits up 16.9 per cent to£64.4 million, on total sales up 4.6 per cent to£1.7 billion. Over the period, like-for-likes on food rose 5.2 per cent. The results do not include figures from United Co-operatives.

McCracken said growth had been driven by a strong performance on its own-label products and its store refurbishment programme. This month, Co-operative Group began converting United Co-op stores to The Co-operative Food fascia.

Since the end of July 28, McCracken said like-for-likes had remained at a similar level, but declined to provide figures.