An organic pioneer says that new export deals shows UK organics can be a global facing success story.
New export deals in Japan and local organic certification approval are helping Alara Wholefoods further expand its growing business in the Asia-Pacific region, and its founder, Alex Smith (pictured), commented: “Gaining JAS Organic certification will open a lot of doors for us, and we are already shipping two 40 foot containers of product to Japan every month. That’s around 35,000 packs, with 60 per cent being Alara branded organic oats and muesli, and non-organic muesli making up the balance.”
The new orders from Japan follow a major new listing with Hong Kong-based supermarket chain city’super and increasing trade with customers on mainland China. Alara has also signed a deal to produce private label organic cereals for Philippines-based Healthy Options, which operates 150 natural food stores.
Smith pointed out that following Brexit, forward-thinking UK food firms have increasingly focused on opportunities in south Asia, a trend known as the ‘Asia-Pacific tilt’. With the UK set to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP) later this year, the region’s strategic importance to UK businesses will be strengthened further.
Smith believes UK food exporters should seize the opportunity, commenting: “Brexit has effectively shut off the EU market to businesses like ours. So, we have to look elsewhere. Perhaps inevitably, we are seeing a shift in the UK’s economic centre of gravity away from Europe to fast-growing regions like Asia-Pacific. There are huge consumer markets in the region, and a growing appetite for high quality organic products, with strong provenance.
“Alara has a long heritage and strong brand values. Being plasticfree, net zero carbon and organic are all attributes that resonate powerfully for our customers in these fast-moving and sustainability aware markets.”