The merger will allow "the complementary technologies currently used by each business to provide new product opportunities," said an ABF statement. "And the increased scale will enable a greater impact in all sales channels particularly in (the areas of ) convenience and impulse (buying)." Although too early to talk about specific product development arising from the merger, the move would accelerate product development, an ABF spokesperson told BakeryandSnacks.com The merger would also lead to cost savings and faster overseas expansion of the Jordons brand, through ABF's international presence, said the company. Ryvita and Jordans both produce a range of healthy snack foods, such as cereal bars and low fat crisps, crispbreads and breakfast cereals. ABF will have a 62 per cent interest in the combined business with the balance held by the existing shareholders of Jordons, said ABF. Completion is subject to regulatory clearances and is expected to take place during the third quarter of this year. ABF acquired a 20 per cent shareholding in Jordon's last year. Expansion in the natural market Bill Jordon, chairman of Jordons said: "Jordons and Ryvita have built strong reputations for milling wholegrain cereals and it seems natural to us that we should form a partnership that draws on these links." He said that growing from "a niche group of consumers", the benefit of wholegrain cereal is now "understood by a mainstream and international market." He added: "This new partnership gives us scale and the ability to share our beliefs in the benefits of natural foods and protecting the countryside, with even more people." The merger follows Langholm Capital's sale in March of Dorset Cereals to Wellness Foods. In a statement Langholm said that Dorset had grown strongly in the muesli category which provided a platform to create new products such as fruity porridge and cereal bars. Last year total branded sales nearly doubled with Dorset becoming "the fastest growing mainstream breakfast cereals company," said Langholm. Healthy snack market The global snack market will be worth almost €197.8bn by 2010, partly reflecting manufacturers focusing on healthier products, according to the Snack Foods report published by Global Industry Analysts in March this year. The trend for healthy snacks or those that are perceived to be healthy by consumers shows no sign of abating as "health- driven snackers are setting into motion strong demand for healthy, low fat, low-calorie snacks", said the report.