LittlePod tastes sweet overseas success

Find out how Exeter business LittlePod has increased international sales and reaches new markets across the world.

Exeter natural ingredients specialist LittlePod has increased its international sales by 15% in the past year and has now set its sights on the UAE for its international growth plans.  

Founded in 2010, the Farringdon-based company provides high-quality vanilla, coffee and chocolate extracts. One of its most popular products is natural vanilla paste in a tube. 

LittlePod began exporting in 2012 and its products, which include co-creations such as a vanilla beer ice cream, vanilla shortbread and a vanilla beer, are now sold in markets including Austria, Estonia, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Portugal, Qatar, Australia and the US. Exporting currently accounts for 30% of the company’s £300,000 turnover. As part of its international growth plans LittlePod is targeting the UAE as its next export market. The firm has already found success in Qatar, with its products being sold in the country’s international airport. 

To tap into the UAE market, the business has developed a new non-alcoholic vanilla paste, created specifically for consumers in the country. LittlePod expects export sales to the Middle East to triple in the next five years. 

This growth will be supported by advisers at the Department for International Trade (DIT) who will help the business source potential international buyers and offer advice on the company’s export strategy to the UAE. 

Janet Sawyer, managing director at LittlePod, said:

“You need to have realistic expectations when exporting as there is a lot to consider. But the effort is definitely worth it, and I found it invaluable to have DIT working alongside me when I was taking those first tentative steps. 

“When I started exporting it was a challenge to find the right distribution agents. However, the team at DIT was able to help with this. For example, when I was looking to start exporting to the US, they introduced us to tried and tested agents. 

“After finding success in Qatar, now is the ideal time to tap into new markets within the UAE and establish our brand to new audiences. Our new non-alcoholic vanilla paste was developed as a direct response to increased demand for real vanilla in the Middle East. For any company with innovative and exciting products, everything’s to be gained from exporting – if we can do it, so can many other local businesses.”

Karine Davies, International Trade Adviser for the Department for International Trade South West, said:

“Uncertainty about marketing products correctly and finding distribution agents can sometimes prevent highly successful companies based here in the South West from exporting.

“But we can help firms overcome these initial concerns – we have 25 International Trade Advisers based on the ground who provide specialist support and guidance to ensure that businesses can achieve their potential.

“Furthermore, we’re aware of hundreds of different exporting opportunities that could be right for businesses across this region. We’d encourage any companies thinking about increasing its sales overseas to get in touch.” 

DIT helps thousands of small businesses every year start out on the route to export. Companies interested in breaking into overseas markets and taking advantage of the global appetite for UK goods and services can visit the new online trade hub, great.gov.uk, part of the Government’s Exporting is GREAT initiative.

DIT offers businesses tailored support and advice on how to start exporting or increase the amount of products and services sold overseas via a network of International Trade Advisers and its digital hub - great.gov.uk.

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