By Jonathan Davies

A boom in demand for breakfast and a new healthier menu has provided a welcome boost to Gregg's sales and profits in the first half of the year.

The bakery giant posted pre-tax profits of £25.6 million, up from £16.9m in the same period last year.

Like-for-like sales, which exclude new stores, were up 5.9% and total sales rose to £398m.

Greggs now has 1,664 outlets in the UK and may be prepared for a wave of new customers after Hollywood actor Jake Gyllenhaal revealed he's partial to a Greggs baguette when he is in London.

Greggs said praised the performance of its new "Balanced Choice" range of sandwiches, which hold fewer than 400 calories.

But the healthier range has now be extended to products like pizza slices and breakfast options.

Roger Whiteside, chief executive, said: “We have had a strong first-half with good growth in sales reflecting improvements in our products and the reaction to our shop investment programme.

“Our offer of great tasting food-on-the-go is being well received by the consumer in market conditions that have remained favourable."