Export success for Watton firm

A Watton pet food manufacturer has seen the dramatic expansion of its export business in just four years.

Anglian Meat Products, which makes Nature's Menu and Prize Choice pet food products, has seen its export market grow from nothing in just four years to cover much of northern and eastern Europe including Holland, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Poland, with growing opportunities in China and New Zealand.

Last year the company's export business was worth �350,000 and it is hoping to pass the �500,000 mark this year.

The company's first export contacts were made at the pet supply trade exhibition Interzoo in 2008 and since 2010 the company has been working with UK Trade and Investment. It now exports to more than 28 countries around the world.

Managing director Craig Taylor said: 'We had done the usual thing of introducing ourselves to everyone and anyone at our first show and it soon transpired that our approach had been too general.'

The company, which now employs 75 people, got in touch with UKTI and took part in its Passport to Export programme.

John Tingle, trade team manager at UKTI in the East of England, said that UKTI helped the company review where is was, where it wanted to be, and how to make the most of new opportunities.

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'Their access to financial support available through the Passport to Export programme met some of the costs of their overseas activity on a matched-funding basis, including supporting visits to prospective new distributors in northern Europe,' he said.

The company went to its second trade exhibition at Interzoo in 2010.

Mr Taylor said: 'By the time we attended the trade show for the second time, our whole approach was much more structured and organised and we had much clearer ideas about how we wanted to plan our distribution.'

The company has also taken advantage of UKTI's Gateway to Global Growth programme.

The international business has been so successful that the company employs staff to work purely in exports.

The firm has been trading in the UK since 1981.

It exported more than 850,000 units of pet food in 2011 and in May it will be returning to Interzoo.

annabelle.dickson@archant.co.uk

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