Zetar, the confectionery and snack foods group, blamed challenging market conditions and the demise of Woolworths for a 30% fall in operating profits in the year to 30 April.

The loss of major confectionery customer Woolworths and rapid increases in commodities costs were exacerbated by the significant fall in value of the sterling against other currencies, the group said in a statement.

Chief executive Ian Blackburn said the priority for the year ahead was to secure a recovery in earnings, which fell from £8.7m in 2008 to £6.1m.

Blackburn said Zetar had simplified its structure to focus on its most profitable businesses. This included the sale of its loss-making baked snacks division in April to Tilbury Property.

Despite the slump in profits, the group – which owns the Kinnerton confectionery business – said its focus on innovation and more value-driven products resulted in turnover growing by over 8% over the period to £118.6m.