The chief executive of UK snack foods Zetar has talked up the potential of “healthier” snacks in the country after acquiring local bakery group Britannia.

Zetar CEO Ian Blackburn told just-food today (24 May) that the company is looking to expand the Britannia business, which makes a range of baked snacks for customers in the UK.

“Everyone likes snacking, it’s here to stay but what we aim to do is produce something that’s better for you, while tasting good at the same time,” Blackburn said.

Growing demand for healthier foods, rising awareness of the importance of a balanced diet and concerns over obesity have led consumers to look for “healthier snack alternatives”, Blackburn said. “We want to exploit the Britannia product range of low-fat, low-salt baked products”.

Blackburn said the Britannia business was “under-capitalised”, which means Zetar has bought “something more like a start-up”. He added: “We’ve got a good asset and the fact is we’ve now got to build sales.”

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Britannia, based in the north-east of England, makes private-label snacks for retailers and a number of branded businesses, including Weight Watchers. Blackburn said Zetar would look to launch more products and develop strong relationships with “major brand houses”.

The deal to buy Britannia was made through Zetar subsidiary The Baked Snacks Company (BSC). Zetar will pay an initial GBP4.7m (US$9.3m) for Britannia with further payments dependent on the company’s financial performance. The deal could ultimately be worth GBP27.7m.