Penelopa produces and sells snacks such as peanuts and sunflowers seeds throughout Bulgaria, PepsiCo said. "Expanding our presence in nuts and seeds very directly supports our strategic effort to address consumers' growing interest in products that support their health in wellness," spokesperson Dick Detweiler told BakeryAndSnacks.com. Both companies decided not to reveal the price of the transaction. The latest acquisition is seemingly a smart on, as the niche seed and nut market grew more than any other over the five year 2001 - 2006 period, according to market analysts Mintel. Mintel's figures reveal that the seed snack market experienced 300 per cent growth in the last five years, to be worth an estimated £20m (€29.8m) in 2006. The acquisition follows other forays into the health market, Detweiler said, such as PepsiCo's acquisition of Sara Lee's Duyvis brands. According to Detweiler, the company also owns the Benenuts brand in France, whose products are principally roasted and coated peanuts, as well as nut mixes and extruded snacks. PepsiCo will also gain important access to the promising markets of Eastern Europe, described as a region of "great opportunity for PepsiCo" by Detweiler. In a statement, chief executive officer Michael White described the Bulgarian market in particular as one enjoying robust economic growth. The company already has two snack plants in Russia, and exports snacks to Bulgaria Greece and Turkey. PepsiCo is currently the largest snack company in the world, with a 23 per cent share of the market in Western Europe - way ahead of competitors Proctor & Gamble, with a five per cent share, and United Biscuits, with a four per cent share. One division of the company, Frito Lay, manufactures some of the best selling crisp brands in the world, including Lays, Cheetos, Doritos and ruffles, as well as baked goods, crackers and pretzels.