A slight variation on the traditional Norwegian ultra-thin crispbread known as ‘flatbrød’ has become a surprising hit in Italy. Italians have enthusiastically adopted the Norwegian practice of both serving the bread with meals and snacking on them alone.

Norway’s Ideal Wasa, owned by pasta giant Barilla since 1999, developed the new version that is now selling between 30-40 tons a week in Italy after export began in February.

The new product is made entirely of wheat, dropping the additional rye or oats common in Norway, and adds malt and palm oil, Ideal Wasa director told newspaper Hamar Dagblad.

Staff holidays have been postponed, 20 new jobs created and the number of shifts quadrupled to meet demand.