Award winner Honeytop finds new opportunities in Spain

With the countdown to the 2007 Export Awards continuing, Honeytop Speciality Foods has been proving their worth as winner of the 2006 Cereals Exporter of the Year, by appointing a new distributor for their products at FFB’s Spanish Roadshow.

The naan and flatbread supplier presented themselves with vigour at the March event, which saw a total of 130 buyers and distributors from Carrefour, retailers Mas y Mas and Supersol and fast food chain Rodilla, amongst others, meeting 44 British food companies. By making sure that visitors – and fellow exhibitors – got a taste of their products, Honeytop ended the show by forming a new relationship with the distributor with agreed listings within two of the major retail outlets.

According to Pauline Ball, Business Development Controller for Europe of Honeytop Speciality Foods, winning the award proved to be a glowing endorsement of the company’s credentials.

“Every company will tell potential customers that it can deliver, but having an independent award from Food from Britain that says you’re the best at what you do gives confidence to your prospective buyers. They know they can trust you,” explains Pauline.

“We have incorporated our award into our exhibition and promotional material, and the award took pride of place at our stand at PLMA recently. It certainly attracted attention, too, and the endorsement of FFB is certainly worth having.”

A honey of an exporter

Honeytop Speciality Foods were awarded the title having put in place a proactive strategy for developing overseas trade in 2005. The strategy included recruiting a dedicated Export Business Manager and developing a targeted approach by clearly identifying suitable markets through on-the-ground research and familiarisation visits.

The results have been impressive. Export sales doubled within 12 months, and new markets have been developed – including Germany, where through a partnership with an established family-owned bakery, the company successfully introduced a previously unknown product into the German retail market. Germany now represents almost 20% of Honeytop’s total export sales.

A willingness to listen and react to individual customer requirements and market needs has been key to the company’s success. Recipes have been tailored to suit local tastes and products have been developed with an extended shelf life to aid the logistical requirements of exporting to the more distant regions. This simple, yet focussed, approach to exporting has proved tremendously successful for Honeytop, and the company has plans to continuing to build on its overseas success. With plans to conquer the foodservice sector while entering new markets such as the USA and Mexico, the next few years are set to be exciting for the company.

Others in the UK food and drink industry agree with FFB that Honeytop is one to watch: they are a key case study at an upcoming East of England seminar presenting the benefits of exporting.