Nestlé relied on emerging markets for much of its growth in the first half of the year, as economic woes in Western Europe continued to act as a drag on performance.

The world’s largest food company said sales in emerging markets were up by 12.9%, compared to just 2.6% growth in developed markets. Sales in Europe slowed in the second quarter, Nestlé said, in particular in the crisis-hit economies of Spain, Greece and Italy.

However, operating profits were up 6% to CHF6.6bn(£4.3bn), while total sales grew at a similar rate to CHF44.1bn (£28.8bn).

Nestlé said “bllionaire brands” such as Nescafé, KitKat and Herta were strong performers, as was the Nescafé Dolce Gusto pod coffee brand. But the poor summer held back sales of ice cream.

Chief executive Paul Bulcke said the performance vindicated the “strategic roadmap” being followed by the company and reaffirmed full-year predictions of 5-6% growth.

“We are making the right choices at the right time,” he said. “We continue to drive innovation globally, ranging from popularly positioned products to super premium offerings.

“We are continually opening new routes to market to reach emerging consumers and using new media to increase both our direct engagement with consumers and our return on brand investment. This approach has delivered profitable growth in both emerging and developed markets.”

News of the performance comes after Nestlé this week confirmed Fiona Kendrick as the new boss of the UK & Ireland business, with incumbent Paul Grimwood set to take over the reins in the US.