Case study

UK Government helps Taywell start its export journey, and prosper

UK Government helped luxury ice cream maker Taywell start exporting, and supported them when the company most needed them.

Taywell Ice Cream

This company was assisted by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), which has since moved to the Department for International Trade (DIT).

Taywell has recently launched its exporting business in Hong Kong, with help from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).

Starting to export

In October 2012, Alastair decided to start exporting. he contacted UKTI and an International Trade Adviser (ITA) was assigned to Taywell to consider which markets to approach first. The company decided to start with Hong Kong, hoping to use it as a gateway to China.

It commissioned an Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) from the in-country UKTI team and learned that there was nothing like Taywell’s ice creams in Hong Kong.

Keen to learn more about the market first-hand, Alastair signed up to join a UKTI Trade Mission in March 2013. This included exhibiting at trade show HOFEX. Taywell received a £3000 grant towards the costs of the market visit. While there, the company found an importer interested in bringing in its ice creams.

Arrange a face to face meeting with an ITA and find out more about UKTI services, including those for first time exporters

Trouble shooting

Taywell’s first export orders came in the autumn of 2013 and these were sent out to Hong Kong by air freight. The company secured its licence to trade in February 2014 and immediately prepared to send out a pallet by air, followed by a 20ft container of products.

Unfortunately, while fixing an error that had occurred in labelling the tubs, 2 of the 11 flavours being sent out by air became contaminated. They were rejected by the Hong Kong Health Department and the whole load banned from sale.

Taywell turned to UKTI for help meeting the conditions that the local authorities placed on re-issuing the licence. UKTI worked with the Environmental Health Officer, Maidstone local council, the Food Standards Authority and Defra to provide the necessary checks and reports.

A new licence was granted in October and £14,000 worth of ice cream has since been exported to Hong Kong.

Alastair Jessel, founder of Taywell Ice Creams, said

UKTI has been exceptionally proactive.

We really feel like Britain cares about expanding our export business and helping us achieve our goals. It’s comforting to know what an impressive team backs us up all along the way. We look forward to their continued support as we tackle new export markets.

New markets in Thailand, India and China

With further funding through UKTI’s Gateway to Global Growth programme, Taywell exhibited at the Restaurant and Bar Show, Hong Kong in September 2013 and 2014. There the company met a very large buyer in China who is interested in the ice creams.

Talks are also underway through the Hong Kong importer with a buyer in India, and a container will be shipped to Thailand in spring 2015, once the relevant licence for this market has been secured. .

About Taywell

Taywell is a luxury ice cream producer and is based in Paddock Wood in Kent.

Entrepreneur Alastair Jessel set up Taywell Ice Creams in August 2006. His initial aim was to use surplus fruit from his farm and turn it into something special. He was determined not to use any artificial additives, colours, stabilisers or bulking agents in his recipes.

His range has expanded over the years and he now offers everything from traditional favourites like vanilla, chocolate and mint choc chip, to original, exotic flavours like wasabi and chocolate, yuzu and Umeshu (plum wine).

Alastair’s creations have won several awards and Taywell has been featured on television and radio shows like The Apprentice and Farming Today.

The company has 13 employees and a turnover of £650,000.

Fast Facts

Company Taywell Ice Creams
Sector Foods and drink
Target market Asia
DIT services Overseas Market Introduction Service, Trade Mission
Published 15 May 2015