Glisten, the UK snacks and confectionery firm, has pointed to its focus on the healthy and premium parts of the sector for its rising annual sales and earnings over the last 12 months.

The company booked an 18% rise in underlying pre-tax profits to GBP6.7m (US$11.8m) for the year to 30 June.

Glisten also highlighted the "excellent performance" from its recent acquisitions as its sales jumped 26% to GBP73.8m. Underlying sales were up 11%.

In the last 12 months, Glisten has snapped up a raft of snacks and confectionery firms selling healthier treats, including low-fat confectionery firm Skinny Candy and low-fat snack makers Snacks Unlimited and The Lindum Snack Company.

Chief executive Paul Simmonds said the company's focus on healthier and premium snacks had benefited the business and would help it withstand any downturn in the UK economy.

"We have progressively driven our business towards those areas of snacking which we believe have long-term potential - including specifically the healthier and premium sectors," Simmonds said. "We do recognise that some consumers' buying habits will adjust during the next financial year but our focus on producing affordable treats, many with a healthier dimension, will underpin our continued ambitions for Glisten as these sectors tend to hold up well during more demanding economic conditions."

Chairman Jeremy Hamer said Glisten had sales were up 15% on the year during the first nine weeks of the company's current financial year, although on a like-for-like basis, sales were flat.