Bon Bon Buddies’ export expansion drive

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Bon Buddies makes confectionery under license for brands such as Disney and Warner Bros
Bon Buddies makes confectionery under license for brands such as Disney and Warner Bros

Related tags United arab emirates Saudi arabia Middle east

Confectionery firm Bon Bon Buddies is investing in international export growth as brand licensing pays dividends for the South Wales-based company.

It has expanded its presence in the Middle East, opening up new markets in Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain in the past six months, it claimed.

It said it had boosted distribution in the United Arab Emirates by 600% in the past year and hoped to expand into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Ukraine in the coming months.

“The Middle East is an important growth market for us,”​ said Chris Howarth, md of the firm, which makes licensed confectionery for global brands such as Disney and Warner Bros.

‘High disposable income’

“People who live there have a high disposable income, a propensity to consume confectionery and are also very familiar with the brands we work with thanks to access to a myriad of satellite TV channels.

“Big brands such as Disney and Marvel are particularly popular and consumers tend to enjoy products with unique textures and tastes.”

He said the firm now supplied every EU Member State and while it was still committed to growing the mature European market, it was determined to expand its horizons.

“Our aim is to increase the proportion of non-UK sales to two thirds of total sales, while investing in technology to develop new sales streams is also on the agenda.”

Bon Bon Buddies was set up in 1993 and now employs more than 80 people across its sites, including its Blackwood headquarters in South Wales. It has six dedicated sales and logistics facilities in Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East and clocked up £37M in sales in the past full year.

Partners include Nintendo, Mattel and Hasbro and it develops more than 400 character-branded products every year. It launched its first own-branded product, Brainblasterz, in 2011 and its second, Nanobytes, in September this year.

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