Norway's traditional unleavened crisp bread (flatbrød) is becoming a popular export item, with markets opening up around the world.

Sales of Norwegian flatbread to the USA rose 20% in 2002, and a similar increase was seen in 2003, according to trade magazine Næringsmiddelindustrien.

The variant sold in the USA is thicker than the traditional paper-thin and generally bland version popular in Norway, and is largely offered in health food stores as a healthy alternative to standard crackers/biscuits and crispy snacks, newspaper Nationen reports.

Norwegian flatbread is also finding new markets in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, southern Europe and several nations in the Far East.

Italian Barilla has used their Ideal Wasa plant in Hedmark to create a special crisp bread for the Italian market which quickly notched up 40 tons a week in sales.