Japanese love the taste of Uncle Joe's Mint Balls
The company behind traditional British confectionary brand Uncle Joe's Mint Balls has announced it will begin exporting the old-fashioned sweets to Japan. The new contract was announced at the British Business Embassy Retail, Food and Drink summit, where a whole host of international business deals were also publicised.
The trade deal has a rather interesting back story. After supplying the firm's Uncle Joe's Mint Balls as gifts for a wedding in Japan, a couple found the sweets were so popular that they approached Wigan-based manufacturer William Santus & Co Ltd with the idea of setting up a company to market them in Japan.
Since launching in March, Tosei has generated such strong sales that William Santus now expects first year export sales to reach £70,000 and has identified potential for further growth in Asia.
Other international business confirmed at the summit today includes:
- Boots is announcing plans to grow its portfolio in Thailand by over 50% in the next three years from 200 to over 300 stores. It has also just become the first ever pharmacy chain in Thailand to have 100% of their stores accredited by the Thai Pharmacy Council.
- Tesco Lotus, Tesco’s business in Thailand, which has more than 1,000 stores, is opening three new state-of-the-art distribution centres. This substantial investment builds on the progress Tesco Lotus has already made to develop retail infrastructure in Thailand, will help Tesco Lotus build on its existing work with over 9,000 local Thai suppliers and SMEs, and will increase the company’s employment of local people. Tesco Lotus plans to recruit at least 9,000 additional staff in Thailand this year.
- King of Shaves, a leading UK razor manufacturer, is announcing plans to enter the fast-growing Turkish market with an agreement to supply ten of its products to leading retail chain Gratis. The Beaconsfield-based firm will start supplying its King of Shaves grooming range in September and expects orders of around £200,000 in year one if the products sell well.
At the summit, business secretary Dr Vince Cable said: "The retail and food and drink sectors are major contributors to the UK economy. Retailers employ almost three million people, and food and drink is our single largest manufacturing sector – worth approximately £25bn a year.
"Government is committed to working closely with firms in these sectors to stimulate growth and encourage new investment opportunities."
Environment secretary Caroline Spelman added: "The food and drink industry is already our largest manufacturing sector, supported by many overseas companies, showing what a great place to do business Britain is. The size of our food and drink industry also makes it a key driver for national economic growth and job creation.
"British food is already known the world over for its quality, and with surging population growth and clear demand for British products, there are opportunities for our producers to tap into emerging markets."