Dragon’s Den Yee Kwan Ice Cream to double exports to China

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The company is looking to increase exports
The company is looking to increase exports
Dragon’s Den success story Yee Kwan Ice Cream is looking to double exports to China.

The award-winning company, run by Yee Kwan Chan and backed by Dragon Deborah Meaden, offers a range of ice creams inspired by Asia.

Production will be ramped up in the next few months to handle the increase in Chinese exports.

The company has hired a British Retail Consortium-accredited manufacturer to produce the ice cream as its infrastructure was not set up for such an increase in volume.

The business is also talking to an exporter with links to the United Arab Emirates with a view to further expanding this export market.

In February 2015, the Sheffield ice cream maker attracted £50,000 worth of funding from Dragon Meaden in return for a 30% share of the business.

Flavour profile

The ice cream manufacturer has previously sold £50,000-worth of ice cream to China in a year. Chan said the flavour profile of the products and the fact they are low fat appealed to the Chinese consumer. 

“I attended Food & Hotel China in Shanghai in November where we met a number of retailers and we are in the middle of negotiations,”​ Chan told Food Manufacture​.  

“I am looking forward to working with a retailer called ​Ole’ with over 60 sites across China.”

The majority of sales for the company in the UK are made through the foodservice sector such as pan-Asian restaurants. It is also sold through Harvey Nichols, Whole Foods Market, Korea Foods, Wing Yip Chinese supermarkets and Ocado.

Product innovation

Chan said the brand was also looking into product innovation with dairy-free and vegan options.

Turnover for the company was £400K during 2017 with a predicted turnover of £750K for 2018.

Chan started making her range of ice creams in 2009, after being inspired by flavours of south-east Asian street food.

The ice cream has won many awards since it started trading, including the Great Taste Awards for smokey Black Sesame Seed ice cream, Lychee & Rose sorbet and Toasted Coconut & Lime Ripple Ice Cream.  

Flavours in the range include Asian flavours such as Banana & Peanut, Toasted Coconut, Black Sesame Seed and Red Thai Tea. There is also a spiced range that includes the variant of Chocolate & Chilli and traditional ice cream and sorbet flavours.

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