Symingtons has put its acquisition strategy on hold until "the fog lifts" and it is easier to value target businesses.

Last year, Henry Pade, marketing director at the Golden Walker noodle snack maker, said it was hitting the acquisition trail and looking to snap up three businesses over 12 months. But this week he admitted the focus had shifted to NPD and investment in production.

Valuing and financing deals had become too difficult in the current economic environment, he said."On the buying side you want to be sure you're not overpaying, and on the selling side people want to get full value," he said. "In cases where everybody is struggling to agree you're a bit nervous about whether it is the right deal and you say let's sit tight and see what happens. My feeling is things will start to ease off over the next year."