Seabrook Crisps, based in Bradford, said it was forecast to meet its export sales target of 4% of its overall turnover by the end of this financial year, as a result of the deal.
It followed similar export deals with Lulu Hypermarket in the United Arab Emirates (UAE); Monoprix in France; 7-Eleven in China; and Hong Kong and French retailer, Carrefour in Spain.
In each case, strategic export development advice was sought from overseas trade specialist Chamber International.
Seabrook started to look at export markets after LDC acquired the company for £33M in 2015, said marketing and international sales director Kevin Butterworth.
‘Wanted to export for some time’
“We wanted to export for some time and the private equity deal injected £4M into upgrading our factory, giving us what we needed in terms of increased capacity, flexibility to provide shorter product runs for international markets and to reinforce packaging to extend shelf-life from four to 11 months as the export market requires,” he explained.
New products have been developed for international customers, including Paprika, and Chilli and Sour Cream flavours for the Chinese and Asian markets.
Meanwhile, multilingual packs and tailored best-before and expiry dates to meet legislative requirements for food exporting have been created.
The company has also used international trademarking, attended trade fairs, such as Gulf Food in Dubai, made market visits and had additional support from The Department for International Trade and the Food and Drink Exporters Association (FDEA).
‘Requires long-term commitment’
“Successful exporting requires long-term commitment,” Butterworth explained. “Securing the latest retail deal with Aldi in Australia keeps us on target to achieve 4% revenue in exports by April 2018 – two years from our first export sale in April 2016 – and our medium-term aim to achieve 10% export revenue within five years.
“We engaged with Chamber International from the start. They provided crucial overseas contacts, particularly an export development programme in the UAE which enabled us to meet 11 potential buyers in three days, and which I could not have achieved under my own steam.”
Seabrook employs 151 staff at its site in Bradford. Operating profit for the business in 2016 was £3.6M, with a turnover of £27M.
Seabrook’s chief operating officer Daniel Woodwards recently told Food Manufacture how his company had evolved from a regional crinkle-cut crisp maker to a national supplier of branded and own-label varieties in just five years, adding £5M in turnover along the way.
The feature was part of the Me and My Factory series of profiles.
And in this exclusive video, Woodwards explained how closer co-operation and engagement with staff helped change the culture of the company.
Meanwhile, in this exclusive photogallery, you can view the full journey of how potatoes become Seabrook crisps – from cleaning to packs being boxed up, ready to be distributed to stores nationwide.
Food Xport Conference 2017
This food and drink export excellence conference will identify the potential for growing food and drink exports pre- and post-Brexit. Taking place at the Ardencote Hotel, Warwick on October 5, conference delegates will be armed with key data about which markets and product categories offer the best prospects.
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