Natures Menu has been working hard at redeveloping its export strategy over the past 12 months and its raw and natural pet foods are now sold in more than a dozen European countries.
And the Norfolk-based company's exploits have been recognised after being named Exporter of the Year at the Pet Industry Awards.
Under the direction of Business Development Director Peter Roy, the appointment of Ann Kathrin Lösenbeck as Export Manager at the end of 2014 enabled Natures Menu to better target new territories and support existing relationships.
The company's raw and natural pet foods are now stocked and sold in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands, Latvia, Greece, Slovenia, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Croatia. Not forgetting that in September 2014 they opened for business as Natures Menu GmbH in Bremen, Germany, which operates as a direct model of their successful UK business.
“Our export strategy is based on population, GDP and average income per household. Since 2012 we have seen our export business grow from £116k to £1m. This is on target to increase to £3m in 2015/16. Existing export countries Netherlands (17m population), Norway (5.1m), Denmark (5.6m) have grown by 324% this year alone,” says Peter Roy.
“Over this year we will have invested £2m in manufacturing equipment, an £1m in marketing and £250k in business systems which went live in January. This infrastructure investment, along with improvements to company structuring and new staff, has enabled us to work more efficiently and will allow us to manufacture comfortably for the next six years on our current growth rate. It also ensures that we can support growth, meet demand and strengthen developments with our export partners separately to our home turf targets.”
Natures Menu’s Head of Marketing Emily Cannon is currently working on a £40k investment to provide export partners with bespoke digital assets, to support sales and brand awareness in new territories.
“Whilst we are not selling online we appreciate the need to develop an online presence which provides further details on our range of products and advice and guidance on raw feeding. We are currently working on eight new European brochure websites which will be live by Easter 2016."
Natures Menu actively support their export customers through direct contact with those in the business that are responsible for NPD, Marketing, Operations and Specialist Areas i.e. veterinary channels and education.
Emily added: “It is vital that we treat each territory individually so we can fully appreciate the markets and consumer behavior within them. For us to succeed as a brand in new and existing territories we must continue to invest in this approach, and provide the support and materials required."