Premium adult soft drinks maker, Belvoir Fruit Farms, has put their export success in recent years down to their close relationship with the Department of International Trade (DIT), a collaboration they highly recommend to other local SMEs.
The business is located in the Vale of Belvoir, making its award winning range of flower and fruit cordials and sparkling Pressés since 1984.
Their products are available nationwide in shops, pubs, bars and restaurants, however, recently the business has been enjoying great international success too, which they have put down to DIT.
Lee Hemmings Director of International said: “As an international business, we are growing at 20% year on year, exporting to a total of 44 countries.
“Our key markets are Australia, France, Holland the UAE and the USA.
“The Department of International Trade helped us to secure a new distributor in the US, which has resulted in a major increase in sales there and we expect this success to continue; our US sales are now projected to reach £10million by 2022.”
In the early stages of US brand development, the company had targeted northeast USA, in particular New York but the new distributor has helped expand the brand’s reach with Belvoir Cordials now being stocked on US supermarket shelves across the country, including in Wholefoods, Cost Plus and Total Wine.
However, despite this success, Belvoir admits to having encountered some challenges.
Lee Hemmings says: “For SMEs, like ourselves, we are constantly on the backfoot compared to domestic brands in the US because of tariffs.
“We are less sensitive to these tariffs because of the uniqueness of our products however, they actively deter other small businesses from even attempting to export to the US.”
The DIT states that in the year to the end of September 2019 total UK trade with the US was worth £220.09 billion while exports to the US in 2018 from the East Midlands alone were worth £2.5bn.
The DIT believes there is much more potential for British food and drink exports in this market.
Belvoir wants to encourage other SMEs to get in touch with their regional DIT office for help in benefiting from the trade opportunities that the USA has to offer.
As the DIT prepares to begin negotiations on a US Free Trade Agreement now that the UK is out of the EU, forging a relationship with the DIT would be especially timely.
Lee Hemmings concludes: “A US Free Trade Agreement will make trade between the UK and the States even easier for SMEs like Belvoir, by reducing trade barriers and allowing us to be yet more competitive against US domestic brands.
“Now’s the time for businesses to contact their local DIT representative and get involved.”