JW Filshill International, based at Hillington in Glasgow, sent its first shipment of Disney branded real fruit purée pouches to China last week, after brokering a deal with a Shanghai importer which has sold the product into Walmart.
The American retail giant operates over 400 stores in China and plans to open 115 new outlets between now and 2017.
Chris Miller, head of export and commercial operations at JW Filshill International, said: “Our importer, who carries the Disney brand licence for China , specialises in the health food category for the baby-to-teenage segment and currently imports dozens of Disney-brand products.
“We are also hopeful our importer will secure a listing with Shanghai Disney Resort, the first Disney resort in mainland China , due to open in late 2016.”
The new Disney range has been 12 months in the planning with Filshill overseeing the sourcing, production, packaging and shipment of this initial order of 50,000 units (pouches).
Chris continued: “During our recent visits to Beijing and Shanghai we were introduced to an importer who specialises in products for babies and children and the project snowballed from there,” he explained. “There’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes to make it happen but once we got the green light to proceed it came to fruition in around six months.
According to Miller, the Filshill model of taking control of the sourcing, production, packaging and shipment presents many Scottish food and drink suppliers with a route to market that didn’t previously exist. “Ocean freight and shipping goods to China can take several weeks – we’re going to the Port of Shanghai via Felixstowe – and this particular order won’t dock until mid-January,” he said.
“The export documentation required to support clearance in the market is a very complicated process so it’s understandable this is an element of doing business in China that will put off smaller producers – many British SMEs struggle to do business in China because of the bureaucracy.
Chris credited Scottish Development International, Scottish Enterprise and Scotland Food & Drink with being ‘key collaborative partners’ in JW Filshill’s international activity and said he saw these relationships becoming increasing important in the future. “Being able to tap into SDI’s people on the ground in markets such as Dubai and Shanghai has been invaluable and we couldn’t do it without them.”