Norwegian food manufacturer Rieber & Søn today (12 July) reported lower half-year sales and profits, blaming low consumer confidence in Europe.

Rieber & Son, which had seen sales increase in the first quarter of 2012, booked lower first-half revenue. On an organic basis, sales fell 7.8%.

Challenges outside Norway weighed on the company’s results. It cited “generally lower” consumer confidence in Europe, which, it said, had had the “greatest” effect on its business in the Czech Republic.

Economies in central Europe have been hit by the crisis in the eurozone and by budget cuts at home.

Rieber & Søn said it would increase its focus on innovation to boost existing products but also “gradually redirect” the company’s portfolio to “new consumer trends”. It added: “A long-term re-alignment of the Group’s product portfolio is of central importance in the present strategy period.”