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Amy’s Kitchen eyes export opportunities

By Gary Scattergood+

12-Aug-2013

Vegetarian and vegan food maker Amy’s Kitchen has ambitious European and Asian export plans in the wake of its 300% year-on-year sales growth in the UK.

Threadgold says increased exports will create UK jobs at Amy's Kitchen

Threadgold says increased exports will create UK jobs at Amy's Kitchen

The firm – set up in the US in 1987 – employs 45 people at its Corby manufacturing site, a number that is likely to increase if exports gather pace.

Damien Threadgold, European commercial director, said the firm was already making inroads in France and Germany with its frozen products and tinned soups.

Next job

“We only really started trading in France in November 2012 and we are already with all of the big wholesalers and talking with most of the major retailers. In Germany we started this January, with the first orders going out in April. My next job will then be Scandinavia.”

Threadgold said this would have a positive impact on its Corby site.

“Within Europe, everything will certainly come out of this facility,” he said.

“We have 45 people on the site today, yet I think we could probably have 350 here. That is my aim: to build and build and build.”

Amy’s Kitchen only established a UK base in 2010 and has since experienced high sales growth in Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda.

It also received a boost in the wake of the horsemeat scandal when it struggled to meet retailer and consumer demand, especially for its frozen ready meals.

Threadgold said he was keen to set up deals with Morrisons and the Co-op, but said he was also looking further afield to drive growth.

Interest all over the world

“I’m also off to Hong Kong, India and China later this year. We have interest from all over the world.

“We are frequently finding our products on sale in a lot of the ex-pat areas, such as Shanghai and Hong Kong, so we are trying to make sure we manage how that develops and ensure the food is being served and sold properly.

“For example, we’ve had experiences of some retailers selling our frozen food chilled. Clearly, we can’t have that. It’s all about managing the brand and ensuring the food tastes as fantastic as we know it should do, which can be difficult in some emerging markets.”

Amy’s Kitchen was founded by Andy and Rachel Berliner in California, USA.

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