Ramsden International: the leading UK exporter of British grocery brands
Ramsden International featured in The Grocer Guide to Export Services - October 2018
Ramsden International has come a long way since Ron Ramsden opened his first retail store in the fishing port of Grimsby, in 1946.
By 1990, the successful business had a fledgling export arm called DeeBee Worldwide. However, it was only when Ron’s grandson, Sean Ramsden joined the division in 1995 that it started to gather momentum. Now, Ramsden International is seen as the leading UK based wholesale exporter of British grocery brands, selling over 23,000 products to more than 650 customers in 130 countries worldwide.
By providing such a wide range, exceptional levels of customer service support and implementing a strategy to offer customers a total supply chain solution; covering logistics, data compliance, relabelling, ingredient translations and category management, Ramsden International’s ‘customer first’ strategy has turned them from simply being an export wholesaler into an unmatched value-added service provider. “Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for customers to import British groceries, despite ever-tightening local legislation,” explains CEO, Sean Ramsden. “All of these additional services benefit our customers, as we’re able to manage the required compliance, documentation and technical aspects of exporting food products worldwide, thus avoiding any issues with local customs.”
Ramsden International’s professionalism and innovative business model has been recognised by many prestigious organisations, with over 90 awards won since 1998, including three Queens Awards for International Trade and Exporter of the Year at the Grocer Gold Awards 2018. “The slick operation uses entrepreneurial flair, backed by innovative processes, to drive performance,” said the judges.
“We’ve invested in services that offer customers additional help at every stage.” says Sean. “Our senior management team have over 250 years combined international trade experience and we have, in addition to our UK head office in Grimsby, six offices worldwide in Singapore, Dubai, Johannesburg, Sydney, Toronto and Hong Kong. This has allowed us to employ in-country sales people with the local knowledge required to successfully manage the commercial relationships within the territory. In addition, we also speak our customers language and have a team of Customer Service Export Advisors who speak 21 different languages between them.”
Over the last three years, the business has significantly invested in two key strategic projects; the development of a new order capture system called ROCS and the launch of their own-brand range, Kingsbury.
“Kingsbury gives us a product that is already export compliant,” explains Sean. “By being able to control the formulation of the product, ingredients, packaging, technical information and documentation, we end up with a product we can get into the export market much easier.” Since the launch in January 2018, Kingsbury is now selling in 30 countries on five continents.
Sean has big plans for the future: “We’re always eager to work with brands to facilitate sales for them in the export market,” he says, “but we don’t represent brands”. “NISA Retail based in Scunthorpe is our primary supplier. About 90% of the goods we sell are sourced from Nisa and as their exclusive export partner, much of what we do would not be possible without the operational support that they provide to us.
“We’re also excited about working closely with the Co-op who acquired Nisa in April this year.
We are confident that with their strong position in the UK retail market, together with their move into wholesaling, that we will further strengthen our position as the UK’s leading wholesale exporter.”
Finally, it would be remiss not to mention Brexit although Ramsden International are extremely confident they can positively handle the transition that will come with it.
“My hope is that Brexit will allow ourselves and other exporters to broaden their horizons beyond Europe and towards the rest of the world,” says Sean. In the last seven years, our non-EU business has grown significantly, and we’re close to a 50:50 split in favour of non-EU, as consumer demand is growing faster outside of the EU. I’m hoping Brexit has a positive effect and the government moves forward with new trade agreements where the EU has struggled in the past.”