US manufacturer Diamond Foods said yesterday (8 March) that it plans to further expand its international operations.

Michael Mendes, the CEO and president of the Kettle Chips manufacturer, said the company sees an “opportunity to develop the Kettle brand internationally”.

Mendes said the company is increasing capacity at all its three Kettle facilities across the US and Europe, which he said was “probably the greatest endorsements of our ability and competence to build this brand”. He added that the Kettle brand has delivered some 30% sales growth in Europe this year.

However, the company is unlikely to push large-scale growth in the shorter term. “Today Diamond does not have the scale to afford the infrastructure to develop in many of our markets,” said Mendes.

In the UK and Europe, Mendes said the reception of Diamond Foods’ ridge crisps, multi pack and the progress the manufacturer is making in the impulse channel has “exceeded our expectations in critical retailers” and it he is feeling “very bullish about the brand”.

The comments came as the manufacturer recorded a “record” second quarter and increased its full-year profit guidance. Diamond Foods increased its sales forecast to between US$925-950m for the year, compared to $920-945m previously. It also said it is increasing its non-GAAP earnings per share guidance by $0.02 to a range of $2.45-2.51.

For the quarter ended 31 January, the manufacturer saw net income more than double to reach $19.7m against $8.8m in the same quarter of the previous year, while net sales rose 40% to US$257.6m and retail sales grew 63% to $215.6m.

The manufacturer also highlighted the success of its Breakfast on the go! range in the US, with Mendes saying the response from retailers to the trail mix packs has been “extremely positive” and that “within four weeks of launching it is already being scanned in 59% grocery retailers.”

The manufacturer also announced plans to increase its advertising spend to a range of US$43-45m for the year, to drive its recent distribution gains.

CFO Lloyd Johnson said Diamond Foods’ marketing support plan in the second half of its fiscal year will be its “largest programme we have ever run behind a new product we have launched.” Johnson said the company is in the process of creating three TV commercials, a print campaign and a “range of digital assets”.

He said the campaign will kick off in April with the company’s sponsorship of major league baseball’s opening day coverage on ESPN, as well as sponsoring local team telecasts in its major markets.

“We will co-ordinate our instore promotions to coincide with the timing of this investment as we introduce our EMERALD brand to the convenient breakfast consumer,” said Johnson.