Somerdale’s entry into the new market will see it work in partnership with Bacchus Epicerie, the Philippines-based supplier of fine wines and foods to restaurants, hotels and specialist retailers.
Bacchus will initially stock traditional cheeses such as ‘Barber’s 1833 Vintage Reserve’ Cheddar, Somerdale’s ‘Il Truffelino’, and Blue Stilton.
Di Jones of Somerdale International said that the Philippines, and South East Asia, are important emerging markets for its products, and the company will continue to develop relationships with distributors in the region.
Stephen Jones, managing director of Somerdale, told DairyReporter that while the Philippines is only a small market currently, there is also an American population there, and “the ex-pat population is quite large and they are looking for something a little different.”
He added that the younger population has developed a western taste, which includes western foods, and across Southeast Asia, pizza is becoming a huge market.
“That's grown and that's a cheese-based product,” Jones said.
“It's quite slow, but you're seeing a growing middle class where the populations are becoming wealthier.”
While the company may have just started selling cheese to the Philippines, the journey has been a relatively long one, Jones said.
“With the paperwork, it's taken us two years to get into the Philippines: you have to register the products, register the brands, get it approved, it's not just a case of going there, showing a product and then shipping an order.”
He added that it had taken five years for China, “but you have to start somewhere, and you have to be patient.”
Marketing in the region is also different, Jones explained.
“It's all very different, so you have to do things differently,” Jones said.
“Ecommerce is much bigger in Southeast Asia. Everyone seems to have at least two smartphones and do their shopping online, so you have to adapt to that a little bit.”