British ice cream maker Granny Gothards sees sales heat up in the desert of Dubai

With the cooler months of autumn having arrived, UK ice cream makers are looking to hotter countries overseas to maintain sales throughout the year, reports Neill Barston.

One such example is artisanal ice cream producer Granny Gothards, which recently scooped a deal in Dubai for 56 different flavours which is set to make the company up to £3 million over the next 5 years.

Founded in 2012, the business, which also specialises in sorbets, has grown from making a series of six ice creams to producing over 195 flavours for top chefs and high-end restaurants all over the world.

With the UK exporting £120.4 million worth of ice cream last year, the Department for International Trade (DIT) has been supporting UK producers such as Granny Gothards with exporting advice and funding.

Due to lockdown, Granny Gothards’ ice cream sales saw unprecedented reductions. During this time, the Devon-based producer received a request for samples from TACCT Global, a distributor in Dubai. The next day, 25 ice cream flavours arrived for a tasting, and the following morning an order for two 40ft containers of the high-end product was received, with more to follow over the next 5 years.

Granny Gothards’ Owner and Managing Director Amanda Stansfield said: “This Dubai deal has been a saving grace for us this year as we were hit really hard by the Coronavirus lockdown, with visitor attractions, National Trust sites, restaurants and hotels closing across the world.

“This export win allowed us to bring staff off furlough at the beginning of July and with UK ice cream sales diminishing after September we can continue to churn out ice cream all year round. Being acknowledged as ‘The Best Artisan Ice Cream & Sorbet Producer in the UK’ recently was just the cherry on the top!

“We are excited about the new markets we’ll be entering in the new year, and we will continue to work with the Department for International Trade to grow our presence in the UAE and beyond.”

The new deal will see bespoke flavours such as rose water and cardamom, charcoal and coconut and salted honey sold via huge online UAE retailer Kibsons International. The more unusual flavours will be packaged in biodegradable wooden pots whilst family favourites such as strawberry and vanilla will be packaged in recyclable cardboard containers.

Granny Gothards has been successfully selling its range of products into the UAE since 2015, increasing profits made from exporting by 25% over the past five years. Today, international sales account for 60-70% of the company’s turnover, up from 35% before the Coronavirus.

HM Trade Commissioner for the Middle East Simon Penney said: “Granny Gothards is a great example of an innovative UK producer that is capitalising on overseas demand for high quality British products.

“There are thousands of UK food and drink businesses selling into the Gulf markets because buyers in the region look for authentic, innovative products of the highest quality, all of which the UK delivers.

“With major events coming up in the region such as Expo 2020 Dubai next year and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, there are many opportunities for UK food and drink companies to get their products in front of a global audience.”

During lockdown, Granny Gothards explored new export opportunities to sustain business and ended up creating a ewes’ milk ice cream range for online Chinese store Alibaba, which will launch in January 2021. The producer also garnered interest from a retailer and a major airline in the US, as well as buyers in India and Saudi Arabia due to the company’s High Protein range manufactured under its brand PROice.

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