British manufacturers announce flurry of export orders at summit

Posted on 9 Aug 2012

A flurry of announcements have been made at the British Business Embassy Retail, Food and Drink summit proving that British products still hold appeal for the export market.

UK razor manufacturer King of Shaves announced that it is entering the fast-growing Turkish market with an agreement to supply ten of its products to retail chain Gratis.

The Beaconsfield-based firm will start supplying its King of Shaves grooming range in September and expects orders of around £200,000 in year one if the products sell well.

Traditional sweet maker William Santus has announced a new contract to sell into Japan, with the possibility of further expansion in Asia. The deal was achieved through a rather unusual circumstances, after supplying the firm’s ‘Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls’ as gifts for guests at a wedding in Japan.

Uncle Joe's Mint Balls, image by Randy Stewart
Japanese love William Santus sweets 'Uncle Joe's Mint Balls', image by Randy Stewart

The newly married couple found the sweets were so popular with the Japanese that they approached William Santus with the idea of setting up a company to market them in Japan.

Since launching in March, Tosei has generated strong sales and William Santus & Co now expect first year export sales to Tosei to reach £70,000. It has identified potential for further growth in Asia, with expansion of its UK production and staff numbers set to follow.

Boots, which manufacturers a large amount of its own-branded products in the UK, has announced plans to grow the number of stores it has in Thailand. It is set to increase its presence by adding another 100 stores to the existing 200 it already has open over the next three years.

The announcements were made at the British Business Embassy Retail, Food and Drink summit in London, one of 18 being organised by UK Trade & Investment during the Olympic and Paralympic Games to showcase British industry and promote international business opportunities.

Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable said: “Government is committed to working closely with firms in these sectors to stimulate growth and encourage new investment opportunities.”

Food & drink is the UK’s single largest manufacturing sector, worth approximately £25bn a year. Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said that the size of our food and drink industry makes it a key driver for national economic growth and job creation.

“British food is already known the world over for its quality, and with surging population growth and clear demand for British products, there are opportunities for our producers to tap into emerging markets,” she said.

Paul Walsh, CEO of drinks maker Diageo, has been appointed as a Business Ambassador for the food and drink industries. After taking up the role, he will be responsible for helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access global markets and grow their businesses overseas.