Andrew Simpson of Rakusens
Rakusen’s, a Leeds-based savoury cracker manufacturer, plans to double its export sales in the next five years by expanding into Asian markets and increasing its presence in North America.
The business is believed to have been one of the first British producers of the water cracker and started production in Leeds in 1900. Today, its range of savoury products including matzo, hi-baked, chocolate and gluten-free crackers, are sold to customers both in the UK and overseas.
The firm gained its first taste for exporting when it started receiving international orders online from customers in South Africa, Denmark, the US and Canada.
To develop its global sales strategy, the firm started to work with international trade advisers as part of the Food is GREAT campaign, a joint initiative by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) to help British food and drink businesses sell their goods and services overseas.
The firm is focusing on a five-year growth plan that will see it establish a more permanent presence in North America and across Asia. Through market research, the firm has identified a demand for its products and will be well-placed to satisfy consumer demand for British products.
DIT has also supported the firm by part-funding a trade mission to the Fancy Food Show in California earlier this year. This show brings together over 1,400 exhibitors from across the world, and is world-renowned for introducing food products into new markets.
For Rakusen’s, meeting potential customers face-to-face was an invaluable part of converting sales and strengthening relationships.
Andrew Simpson, director at Rakusen’s, said: “We make a fantastic product and, as a small business, we’re always looking for ways to keep growing.
“We currently export to mainly English-speaking countries, but we’ve started looking to Asia as it is a market where we see customers with increasing disposable incomes wanting to buy our products.
“To make this goal achievable, we’ve been working with international trade advisers at DIT to help address various exporting challenges ahead of increasing our exports to these markets. This includes learning about the regulatory differences when selling to Asia. We have had to consider changes to the flour we use, make sure our packaging is correctly labelled and translated, and states the country of origin.
“The Fancy Food Show in California helped us to create new relationships with potential buyers and strengthen existing ones. Meeting face-to-face with new buyers was a great way to start off our relationship compared to phone or email.
“Exporting can seem daunting at the start, but sometimes you have to take the risks. We got in touch with DIT and are sure that with the support they have given us, along with our own export strategy, we will reach our goal. If a small company from Leeds can branch out into new overseas markets, anyone can.”
Mark Robson, head of regions for Yorkshire and the Humber at DIT, said: “To see the positive impact that exporting has had for Rakusen’s is fantastic.
“There are hundreds of exporting opportunities across Yorkshire and the Humber. Exports of food and drink from across the region stood at £26.7m in the year ending June 2018.
“Whether you’re a start-up or well-established business looking to export to new markets, I’d urge you to get in touch with our team of International Trade Advisers today. The benefits are endless and could soon see your business tapping into new markets and reaching your full growth potential.”
PD Ports Northern Powerhouse Export Awards, in association with HSBC and the Department for International Trade, seeks to recognise the most entrepreneurial exporters from across the North of England.
For more info visit www.northernexportawards.co.uk.
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement