Out of Lockdown and into the lolly, the ice cream maker’s deal in the desert  

An ice cream maker from Devon has guaranteed its survival beyond what was an uneventful summer – by supplying a client in Dubai.

Now the cooler months of Autumn have arrived, many manufacturers are looking to hotter countries to maintain sales throughout the year.

And the artisanal ice cream and sorbet producer Granny Gothards, has certainly done that by scooping a deal for 56 flavours which is set to make the company up to £3 million over the next five years.

Founded in 2012, the business has grown from making just six flavours to producing over 195 flavours for top chefs and high-end restaurants all over the world. With the UK exporting £120.4 million worth of ice cream last year, the Department for International Trade (DIT) has been supporting UK producers with exporting advice and funding.

Granny Gothards saw sales slump during Lockdown to “unprecedented” levels. Fortunately, it received a request for samples from TACCT Global, a distributor in Dubai.

Award: Amanda with Liam Fox in 2018

The next day, 25 ice cream flavours arrived for a tasting, and the following morning an order for two 40ft containers of their high-end product was received, with the promise of more to follow.

Managing Director Amanda Stansfield decribed the deal as “a saving grace” at a time when visitor attractions, National Trust sites, restaurants and hotels closing across the world.

“This export win allowed us to bring staff off furlough at the beginning of July and with UK ice cream sales diminishing after September we can continue to churn out ice cream all year round. Being acknowledged as ‘The Best Artisan Ice Cream & Sorbet Producer in the UK’ recently was just the cherry on the top!

With major events coming up in the region, there are many opportunities for UK food and drink companies to get their products in front of a global audience

“We are excited about the new markets we’ll be entering in the new year, and we will continue to work with the Department for International Trade to grow our presence in the UAE and beyond.”

The new deal will see bespoke flavours such as rose water and cardamom, charcoal and coconut and salted honey sold via the online UAE retailer Kibsons International. The more unusual flavours will be packaged in biodegradable wooden pots whilst family favourites such as strawberry and vanilla will be packaged in recyclable cardboard containers.

Granny Gothards has been selling its range of products into the UAE since 2015, increasing profits made from exports by 25 per cent over the past five years. Today, international sales account for 60-70 per cent of turnover, up from 35 per cent before the pandemic.

Trade Commissioner for the Middle East Simon Penney said: “There are thousands of UK food and drink businesses selling into the Gulf markets because buyers in the region look for authentic, innovative products of the highest quality, all of which the UK delivers.

“With major events coming up in the region such as Expo 2020 Dubai next year and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, there are many opportunities for UK food and drink companies to get their products in front of a global audience.”

During lockdown, the company explored new export opportunities and ended up creating a ewes’ milk ice cream range for online Chinese store, Alibaba, which will launch in January. The producer also garnered interest from a retailer and a major airline in the US, as well as buyers in India and Saudi Arabia.