Confectionery company Sweetdreams is celebrating winning ‘a game changing’ £250,000 export deal, Business Live has reported. The Cramlington firm will soon be supplying its best-selling Choc Nibbles brand and two bespoke products into the United Arab Emirates (UAE), after managing director Matthew Stephenson agreed the deal with Dubai-based Life Pharmacy while their guest at a desert picnic on the Arabian Peninsula.
The agreement will see Sweetdreams’ products going on to the shelves of 252 Life Pharmacy stores across the UAE, as well as potentially a further 5,000 outlets, including two of the Middle East federation’s biggest supermarket chains.
It is the first export deal Sweetdreams has struck, and comes as Mr Stephenson is in talks to hopefully break into the Scandinavian and Canadian markets.
The family-run sweet manufacturer and panning and coatings specialist caught Life Pharmacy’s eye after Mr Stephenson began actively seeking out overseas customers as he looks to grow Sweetdreams’ name beyond the UK.
The deal was finalised whilst he attended the world’s largest food and beverage exhibition, Gulfood, in Dubai earlier this month, as part of a 30-strong Department for International Trade delegation drawn from across the Northern Powerhouse region.
Mr Stephenson described the export deal as “game changing,” and said shaking hands on it had “been the most bizarre experience of my life. I was driven out into the desert at 6am on a dune buggy experience by Life Pharmacy’s category development and brands director, Richard Kohn.
“In between squealing like a child as we raced over the sands, we discussed the deal. We stopped for a picnic, did one final taste testing of our products, and shook hands on the deal over a packet of Choc Nibbles.
“Until now, our biggest overseas sales had been a couple of pallets into the Netherlands and Belgium. But he have changed our focus and are now trying to look at a more global picture. We have concentrated on the UK and are doing very well, but we realised that we have something that people want, and we want people to do business with us.
“This really is a game changing deal and puts us in a very strong postion going forward.
“I am particularly pleased that the deal has happened during the trade mission to Gulfood. It goes to show just how important these trade missions are.”
Apart from supplying the Choc Nibbles, Sweetdreams has created two products for Life Pharmacy, Sweet Protein Almonds and Protein Crunchies, which will be available in five lines.
The UAE deal has come on the back of a sustained period of growth for Sweetdreams.
The company recorded a £2m turnover in the last financial year, and is looking to double that to £4m by 2023. Even before the UAE deal, business was 17% up on this time last year.