Canadian food manufacturer Dare Foods has said it is focusing on the emerging BRIC economies for M&A opportunities and partnership or licensing deals as part of its international growth strategy.

Dare Foods, based in North America, told just-food today 22 October) that, while it has always had an international presence, it is increasing its focus on emerging markets because it has become "tough" to generate "conventional domestic growth".

"International for our business, it has always been there but it's never been something that has been a focus so we've never put any emphasis on it," Dare Foods chairman Bill Farrell told just-food. "[The international business] has more or less run itself and it's a very small percentage of our business base. If you look at the categories we compete in, we're in cookies, crackers, we're in confectionery ... it's tough to get conventional growth domestically, so there is certainly potential for growth internationally. It's one of those things that strategically we are going to be more focused on because we've got wonderful brands."

Speaking at this year's SIAL food exhibition in Paris, Farrell said Dare is looking to the emerging economies, in particular, for growth.

"[We are looking at] Russia in a bigger way, so the BRIC economies. Brazil in a bigger way, India and China in a bigger way because there's a growing middle class there and they've just got an enormous appetite for branded products.

"We're fortunate in the sense that Canada has a reputation for offering a higher-quality products when it comes to foods, so it's whether we can leverage that. It also comes down to whether you can get the right price points to start making it all worth while. So we think there could be a big opportunity in international. But, like anything else, you've just got to work at it."

Farrell said Dare had a licensing deal in the past in Australia and that it was something the company would consider again. He also said the company would look at M&A opportunities and partnership deals.

"We're prepared to work with groups and partners and do whatever it is that we need to do."

Click here to read just-food's full interview with Bill Farrell from SIAL.