Westcountry yoghurt business lands Dutch supermarket deal
A North Devon yoghurt maker has secured a listing into 400 Dutch supermarkets – after its founder gave a presentation in Dutch to help secure the deal.
Torrington-based Stapleton yoghurt is now stocked in 400 Jumbo stores in the Netherlands as well as around 300 Delhaize outlets in Belgium.
Founder Peter Duncan said that the business was now targeting further exports, with its high fruit content and additive free product a unique offering on continental supermarket shelves.
"We're selling several thousand a week so it is good volumes. We're quite excited. The deal does means something in terms of investment. It means we're pointing in the right direction after a difficult time, which is pleasing," he said.
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Mr Duncan first learned Flemish then Dutch in the 1990s after the business picked up an earlier order to sell into Belgium. He kept up the languages as a hobby, something that paid off in negotiations with Jumbo over the summer, particularly when the firm's distributor told him the night before a meeting with Jumbo executives that he would be giving a presentation in Dutch.
"I do think it's something that really helps. You don't need an A-level in a language but it goes down well if you can greet people at a most basic level. It's not going to affect their decision – that's about the product and the pricing – but it does oil the wheels," he said.
The firm's 'big pot' nectarine and passion fruit, apple and blackcurrant, and sweet and sour cherry yoghurts are now on sale in Holland.
Stapleton employs 32 people. Closer to home, it supplies supermarkets including: Asda; Morrisons; Sainsbury's; Spar; Tesco, Waitrose and Occado.
The business is now focused on innovation with new products and flavours in development and a focus on social media in order to drive sales and marketing thanks to Mr Duncan's daughter, Beth, who has joined the business. Mr Duncan added: "I'm an old fashioned yoghurt maker. I'm only interested in what I can do with milk. I enjoy making the best possible product I can so it's great to have the younger generation coming along to help us get there."