World food player Unearthed has risen from nothing to become a multimillion-pound brand in just three years. But that’s just the start, says this team of culinary explorers. Rob Brown reports

As far as jobs go, this one really takes the biscotti - travelling the world like a culinary Indiana Jones, hunting down foodie treats for shoppers back home and making a tidy sum while you're at it.

Sound like a dream job? Well it's reality for Simon Day, who in 2008 set up world food brand Unearthed, which last year raked in sales of £11m.

It's not all jet-set though. Day is in a tough market. In May, Unearthed will relaunch its olive and antipasti range after sales of some lines began to falter.

With new packaging and products such as manchego and chilli stuffed pimentos replacing previously slow sellers, Day is hoping the relaunch will help the brand achieve sales of more than £15m in 2011.

"This is about being proactive and taking the brand to the next level," he says. "We will be replacing some lines with ones that will sell better, and we also want to refresh packaging and improve recipes."

Such steps are vital if Unearthed is to continue on its steep growth trajectory, which is largely down to the brand's success in winning listings in Waitrose in the past three years, says Day.

The situation is somewhat complicated by the fact Unearthed must compete for sales with own-label products supplied to Waitrose by its parent company Winterbotham Darby.

"It is a difficult line to tread but it hasn't cannibalised the category to a very great extent we have grown the category incrementally and sustainably," insists Day. The Unearthed range which includes Breton Duck Mousse and Spanish Chorizo as well as Barrel Aged Greek Feta appeals to younger consumers interested in provenance and new recipes, he adds.

And it is by attracting these younger shoppers into the category that Unearthed claims it can continue to grow without stepping on its parent company's toes.

It may go head-to-head with some tough competitors, but Unearthed is holding its own by keeping a tight rein on prices to ensure they're on a par with or below the own-label competition, says Day.

Another point of difference is ethics. One penny from every pack of Unearthed products sold is donated to the charity Action Against Hunger, a fact that will be made clear on the range's revamped packaging.

As well as Waitrose, Unearthed has secured listings with Ocado, Abel & Cole and a host of independents. Exports particularly to Dubai and Bermuda are also bearing fruit for Unearthed, although Day sees the lion's share of future growth coming from within the UK, where he is on the hunt for new listings.

But he intends to proceed with caution. "We're mindful that Waitrose has given us an excellent opportunity so we need to be careful that we don't do anything to tread on that," says Day.

A key focus for new listings will be regional supers like Booths. And the major multiples? "It might be that we bring out another brand for them."

Looks like Day's going to have to dig out his passport again.