Battle Oats' founders founders (L-R) Kevin Smith and Shaun Gibbins
Battle Oats, a Hull-based manufacturer of low-sugar protein snacks is looking to double its exports in the next 12 months, aiming for over 30% of sales to come from overseas.
Since attending the world’s largest food trade show, Gulfood, in Dubai, the business has increased its focus on the Middle East.
Prospective buyers at the show were excited by the opportunity to buy British-made food products. Distributors in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are now sending orders for Battle Oats’ products.
As a longer-term goal, the company is also looking to enter the US market. With the world’s largest fitness industry by revenue and size, the United States offers huge growth potential for Battle Oats.
To help start the process of exporting to the US, the business joined a trade mission to San Francisco supported by the Food is GREAT campaign - an initiative by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) to help UK food and drink businesses sell their goods and services overseas.
The company has also had support from government trade advisers in Yorkshire and the Humber, who helped with regulatory challenges relating to exporting, such as obtaining the correct paperwork required for exporting to the Middle East.
Battle Oats was established in 2014 and employs seven staff. Since shipping its first order overseas in 2015, the business now exports to 15 countries around the globe. It has also secured contracts with a wholesaler that supplies armed forces stationed in Germany.
Kevin Smith, co-founder at Battle Oats, said: “While we’ve only been exporting for a short while, it’s been brilliant to see how receptive overseas buyers have been to our products. A large part of this is simply because we’re a British company. We’ve even had requests to put the Union Jack on our packaging because consumers in some countries really revere UK products.
“The Middle East, in particular, presents a great opportunity for us. It’s a huge market and we’ve enjoyed doing business there. It’s very fast-paced in comparison to other markets, and it is good for our cash flow as customers are happy to pay up front.
“DIT and Defra have been excellent in helping us broaden our horizons and realise the potential to export overseas. Its support can help other ambitious firms like us to take the leap into exporting.
Mark Robson, head of regions –Yorkshire & the Humber DIT, said: “The Middle East is fast becoming a hot spot for savvy local food and drink producers like Battle Oats to capitalise on the region’s appetite for British food and drink.
“Exports to the UAE by Yorkshire producers alone increased by 33% in the year to March 2018. We have 29 international trade advisors in Yorkshire, including food and drink specialists, who are on hand to help firms on their exporting journey.
“I would encourage any business considering exporting its products to reach out to see how we can help. If Battle Oats can do it, so can your business.”
Nominations are now open for the PD Ports Northern Powerhouse Export Awards in association with HSBC and the Department for International Trade.
The international trade campaign seeks to recognise the most entrepreneurial exporters from across the North of England.
For more info and to submit your nomination visit www.northernexportawards.co.uk.
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