Sales of posh crisp brand Tyrrells have leapt 42% in the past year and the company is confident it will be able to repeat the trick this year thanks to strong international growth.

Speaking exclusively to The Grocer after a year in the job, Tyrrells chief executive David Milner revealed that sales were set to hit £50m in the year to the end of March and predicted growth of a further 40% this year. The company's overseas sales had jumped 50% to £7.5m and were on track to double to £15m this year.

Tyrrells had dramatically increased its overseas distribution and would be available in 1,000 more Intermarché stores in France from April, he added. This would propel the number of international supermarkets the crisps were available in beyond the number of UK stores, he said, adding that it had also secured extra distribution deals with Coop in Switzerland and Albert Heijn in Holland in January.

The company was committed to building its business in France, he said, but unfavourable exchange rates meant a production base there was not currently on the cards.

"With the pound where it is, there's no great incentive," he said. "The biggest driver would be if the business gets bigger and something happens to exchange rates, though I don't think the pound will go up anytime soon."

A US base would be the next target if a big push in the market and a launch in Canada in April pays off.

Rising oil prices posed an ongoing challenge, said Milner. "Once you get to the trade and say we need a price increase of X, it's probably two X you need and that's the real problem," he said. "Like everybody in crisps we're trying to pass on the commodity price increases but it's a very difficult environment retailers don't want to take it."

Milner was nevertheless "very optimistic" about the company's prospects. "We've had good growth with existing and new customers, NPD has been fantastic and international business is pumping, which gives us great hope for next year."