UK snack bar and cereal maker Eat Natural has said it is looking to grow its key export markets by expanding distribution channels and driving greater brand awareness.

Speaking at this year’s ISM confectionery exhibition in Cologne, Eat Natural co-founder Preet Grewal told just-food that the company’s export business accounts for around 25% of group sales.

“It is a big part of the business and we are looking at where we want to grow further. That 25% is made up of six key countries: Holland, France, Germany, Scandinavia, the US and India, and the remainder are second-tier countries. There are 20 in total. In these, we’re looking at more distribution and better brand awareness.”

Grewal said the company had an interest in growing in the emerging markets, particularly India where it currently has a presence and where the brand has translated well. He said the company was open to other markets. “We had an enquiry from Trinidad and Tobago today so that’s a discussion we are currently having.”

Grewal said consumer interest in healthier products had helped drive global sales, but suggested that increases in raw material costs had proved troublesome for the firm.

“The last three to four years have been very painful. Nuts and sugar have been the commodities that have affected us the most. Almonds almost tripled in price at one point.”

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The increases, however, have had little effect on innovation, Grewal said. “We are very focused on providing good value products. The key is getting consumers to taste the product and then they buy into it.”

The snack firm, which last year relaunched its range of breakfast cereals in the UK, said cereal and gluten-free were “key categories” for the company.

Grewal added: “It’s about offering something natural with quality ingredients. Consumers are looking for better for you products – something that tastes delicious but offers something naturally healthy.