Overseas sales now account for 15% of the company’s turnover, with its milled seaweed ingredients sold to customers in South Korea, Australia, Canada, Israel and the US. Most recently, Seaweed & Co secured a £10,000 order for its PureSea brand milled seaweed from a food manufacturer in Spain.
Founder and chief executive Craig Rose said: “Exporting has been part of our business strategy from the very beginning. There is a huge market out there, and by working with distributors and partners overseas we’ve been able to increase our profitability and boost our resilience.”
Seaweed & Co is now working with international trade advisers from the DIT to boost its presence in the Scandinavian and US markets.
The company will showcase its Weed & Wonderful range of seaweed-infused cooking oils and nutritional supplements to Danish buyers as part of a DIT-sponsored trade mission to Copenhagen later this month.
“DIT has been on hand to help with guidance in completing the right export paperwork and navigating international regulations,” added Rose.
“They were even able to help us avoid being scammed after we were contacted by what looked like a genuine overseas customer. I’d encourage anyone thinking about exporting to get in touch with DIT at the earliest possibility.”
DIT North East regional head David Coppock said Seaweed & Co was an example of a local firm that had been quick to capitalise on a growing international trend with health-conscious consumers.
Continued support for the company comes as part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and DIT’s Food is GREAT campaign, which aims to get more food and drink producers into key overseas markets.
‘On hand to offer support’
“We know that exporting can sometimes present hurdles, which is why the DIT is on hand to offer our support,” said Coppock.
“Our network of international trade advisers based on the ground across the North East can offer firms of all sizes advice on everything from logistics and tax to language and intellectual property, as well as help businesses access funding for missions abroad.”
Founded in 2014, Seaweed & Co harvests and mills Hebridean seaweed for the industrial food and drink sector. Its products found fame on The Great Celebrity Bake Off, when Ricky Wilson of Kaiser Chiefs fame used PureSea smoked Scottish seaweed in his savoury scones.
In other export news, Cotswolds-based bakery Huffkins is entering the Japanese market, following the shipment of a 1.7t order of fruitcakes, shortbread and branded merchandise to Japan, with more orders already secured for October 2018 and into 2019.