Increased food sales helped Applegreen, the petrol forecourt retailer, to grow profit in the first half of the year, as it opened its first site in partnership with global healthy chain Freshii.

Applegreen, which operates 220 forecourt sites across the UK, Ireland and US, said that gross profit rose 5.5% year on year, driven by a 13.4% increase in food sales. Revenue was up 7.4% to €556m, while EBITDA rose 15% to €13m.

At the end of the period, the company opened its first Freshii site under franchise in Dublin. There are currently over 200 Freshii restaurants globally in Toronto, Vancouver, Miami, Chicago, Houston, Dubai, Vienna, Saudi Arabia, Guatemala, and 85 other cities in 20 more countries around the world.

Applegreen said Freshii’s nutritious range complimented its offering, meeting their “high-quality food standard”.

The group, which has partnerships with brands such as Burger King, Subway, Costa and Greggs, opened 17 new food outlets during the period.

Freshii Ireland chief executive Dave O’Donoghue said: “We are proud to have found a likeminded, non-traditional partner in Applegreen. The partnership marries two forward-thinking brands, allowing us to bring a greener future to life within the market. Freshii believes in making healthy food accessible and convenient to all. We all know it doesn’t get more convenient than Applegreen’s service stations.”

Applegreen said the addition of Freshii was part of its “strategic approach” of teaming up with international food concepts.

Joe Barrett, chief operating officer of Applegreen, said: “Fast food can now mean healthy food. We’re working hard to cater for all our customer needs and help them make smart, healthy food choices while on the go. This exciting and innovative partnership with Freshii highlights our dedication to ensuring we stay true to that ethos.”

The company said that trading since the end of June had improved in the UK and that it expects its full-year performance to be in line with expectations.

In the first six months of the year, Applegreen increased its number of sites by 10% to 220 and signed a franchise agreement with 7-Eleven, which it hopes will support its development in the US.