UK fresh produce giant G’s Fresh is ramping up its focus on international markets with the launch of a new business unit that will expand the company’s branded lines overseas.
The new unit will be known as Shropshire Brands and will be headed up by Mark Haynes, previous manager director of G's mushrooms and vegetables.
It aims to build on the success of G’s beetroot brand, Love Beets, in both the US and Australian markets by expanding in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, as well as scoping overseas potential for other G’s brands such as Fresh and Naked, new organics line O’Live, Bourne & Wallis and Found!.
In his new role, Haynes has responsibility for the international expansion of the company’s existing brands, as well as the own-brand and branded organics range, and wider business development.
Beetroot for the US operations is currently grown and processed in the UK, before being shipped to the States, but this is set to change with the opening of a new factory in Rochester, New York State, and a US-based growing operation. It has been developed over the last six months as a joint venture with US food firm LiDestri Foods.
Love Beets launched in Australia around two years ago, where the licence is held by bagged salad supplier One Harvest. It is present in the UK in specialist retailer Holland & Barrett in a juice format.
Haynes was joined by former G’s Fresh managing director, Geoff Calder, at Asia Fruit Logistica this week (w/c 31 August), to explore opportunities for the new branding unit in markets including Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia. Calder stepped back from the business in 2014 to take on various non executive and charity roles, and over the last 12 months he has been overseeing the handover of his previous responsibilities to the business unit directors who now report to Alan Christie as G's Group CEO.
Speaking at the event, Calder said: “Through our European operations and our business in the US and Australia, we have the structure in place and we are now ready to roll out our brands on a much larger scale internationally.
“Why are we focusing on international expansion? Globalisation is one part of it, we have a unique know-how in this sector, and our market position in the UK is very strong so we need to find new markets. We see big potential and opportunities in Europe, and we have had a lot of interest from our European partners.”
Mark Haynes said there is “limited potential” for the Love Beets in the UK due to the priority of own-brand at retailers, but there are still opportunities. “I want to look elsewhere such as the foodservice sector, as well as explore NPD opportunities, in juice, for example,” he said.
“One part of my role will be to ensure there is a good knowledge share across all markets we operate within to help boost G’s brands overseas.”