Westaways heads eastaways: selling sausages to Asia

Devon-based Westaways Sausages makes fresh, low-fat traditional butcher’s sausages from British pork. They are not just hugely popular throughout the West Country but are being enjoyed in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Barbados. And soon, it’s hoped, China.

The company’s first exports were to Europe, largely in response to enquiries received through its website. In 2006, the company joined the UKTI programme Passport to Export.

In August 2008, Westaway hosted a UKTI-organised delegation of Hong Kong businesses. A follow-up visit to Hong Kong was made by  Westaway’s managing director Charles Baughan. Today, this one market is worth £9,000 per month.

“Passport to Export was tremendously helpful and inspirational, giving us useful information about different routes to market and other relevant issues,” says Baughan. “Personally hosting the Hong Kong delegation was too good an opportunity to pass up. Five years on, we are firm friends with the delegates and doing a healthy amount of business with them.”

Continued support

Since these early export successes, UKTI has continued to support Westaway as it grows its overseas business:

  • The company received funding from UKTI’s Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) to attend the international trade show Food & Hotel Asia. This resulted in new business from Singapore and Malaysia
  • Another TAP grant allowed the company to visit Japan and attend Foodex Japan in Tokyo, where it met one of the largest distributors of pork products in the country. They are now working together to develop a new product for launch in 2014
  • In October 2013 Westaway used Gateway to Global Growth to help fund a visit to Shanghai
  • In December the company joined a trade delegation to China led by the Prime Minister. Westaway is now focusing on securing a foothold in this huge market

“UKTI programmes like TAP and Gateway to Global Growth make distant markets accessible,” says Baughan. “Since the Prime Minister’s delegation to China we are working on getting the relevant licences to allow us to export into that market. We know that we can call on UKTI for support. We may commission an Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) to make use of the on-the-ground knowledge that UKTI’s local team has about the market. There are no instant wins in exporting but UKTI gives you an extra boost to improve your chances of success.”

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