Exports Case Study: Anglesey Sea Salt Co Ltd
For over 16 years Anglesey Sea Salt Co Ltd has been harvesting sea salt from the pure waters of the Atlantic Ocean using traditional artisan methods.
From its origins in a family kitchen, Anglesey Sea Salt has built a loyal UK customer base including Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Harvey Nichols and Fortnum & Mason. It is currently on the market in over 22 countries. Small enough to be flexible, the company takes pride in having the systems and professionalism of a larger company, with Soil Association certification and Grade A British Retail Consortium accreditation.
The importance of exports to growth
In 2012, 45% of company turnover came from exports. Although exports are not as high as pre-downturn levels, growth is returning. Exports are extremely important to business strategy with growth sought in different markets and areas such as ingredients, retail, gifts and food services. Anglesey Sea Salt has a strong strategic outlook for business growth, including overseas expansion to new and existing markets. Following a successful recent appearance at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York further expansion in North America is a top priority, giving access to a sophisticated, existing market with high demand for premium products.
Pure salt is the key export, followed by flavoured salts and oak-smoked water. Europe and Australia are the most successful export markets, as is North America where oak-smoked Halen Môn salt is used to make the artisanal milk chocolate caramels favoured by President Obama. Their salt is also exported to Japan for use in manufacturing premium quality soy sauce and miso, highly prized in the local market.
Overcoming export challenges
Developing export growth is not without its challenges – the cost of carriage on premium products can price Anglesey Sea Salt out of markets when up against local competitors. Complicated labelling requirements and ever-increasing regulations also add to the workload, often requiring specialist knowledge.
Alison Lea-Wilson, Sales Director, said:
“Whilst the UK remains our primary market, expansion overseas gives us access to markets essential to the growth strategy of the business. It’s called ‘not having all your eggs in one basket’ and effectively builds the brand as well as sales.”