Digestives maker United Biscuits eyes export growth

Digestives maker United Biscuits eyes export growth

United Biscuits today (20 November) forecast a 50% rise in its exports from the UK by 2020.

The company, which is owned by Turkish food giant Yildiz Holding, said that it will export 60,000 tonnes of products from the UK in 2015, representing GBP250m in retail sales for the year.

McVitie's Digestives is the group's largest export brand, accounting for two-thirds of overseas sales. 

Yildiz's UK subsidiary exports to over 100 countries worldwide and the company said its "core focus" was on four key regions: Africa, the Middle East, India and China. The company recently set up a flagship store on Alibaba Group's T-Mall platform in a bid to tap into the growing e-commerce opportunities in China.

In order to support growth, United Biscuits plans a GBP15m (US$22.8m) of investment at its Harlesden facility, in west London, in 2016. The spend will help "improve the site's capacity and boost its export potential further," the company said. 

"At United Biscuits we have established a strong track record of success in finding consumers worldwide who love our iconic McVitie's British biscuits. Whether through exporting or manufacturing locally, our international development model is central to UB's strategy for growth and will involve continued investment in our UK sites," Jeff van der Eems, CEO of United Biscuits, said. 

"We have focused in particular on making McVitie's Digestives a truly global product. This wonderful British biscuit is appreciated worldwide. Finding appropriate ways to introduce McVitie's to consumers on all continents has helped our exports boom and will continue to drive investment in Harlesden and our other UK sites. This is a major reason for our success and the booming export figures for McVitie's this year, and we are investing in our capacity to continue feeding the global demand for our biscuits and baked snacks."