Kettle Foods has appointed the former boss of Green & Black's chocolate as its new managing director.

Dominic Lowe has picked up the reins of the premium crisps maker following its acquisition by US snack food giant Diamond Foods from private equity firm Lion Capital for $615m last year.

Lowe said Diamond had been "incredibly supportive" £7m was being spent on expansion of the company's Norwich HQ to increase production capacity. He added he was keeping a close eye on US developments such as the launch of low-fat crisps under the Kettle Chips brand.

Lowe admitted the UK premium crisp market was becoming increasingly competitive and said product quality was key to maintaining growth. UK sales of the Kettle brand have risen 8.4% year-on-year to £87.2m against a 6.1% increase in the value of the bagged snacks market [Nielsen 52w/e 11 June].

Lowe joined Kettle after eight years at Cadbury, most recently as MD of Green & Black's, and has also worked with Schweppes, The Coca-Cola Company and Diageo. He left Cadbury in February 2010, just after Kraft took over, but said his decision to leave had been made before the acquisition.

"I had felt that it was time for a new challenge," he added.

Lowe succeeds Jeremy Bradley who has been managing director for seven years and will become a non-executive director. Bradley will focus on global initiatives for Diamond, which this year acquired Pringles from Procter & Gamble.