Exports case study: Clipper Teas, owned by Wessanen UK

Founded in Dorset in 1984, Clipper is the UK's No 1 Fairtrade tea brand. We manufacture and export a wide range of organic and Fairtrade teas and coffees – from Everyday Blends to Green Tea and infusions.

Our products are made with pure ingredients, from the highest quality sources, with nothing artificial added. Our strapline is Natural, Fair and Delicious. Today, Clipper products are sold in 50 countries around the world, but all our tea is still blended on site in Dorset at our Beaminster Tea Factory.

the range of organic teas clippers has to offer

International trade has become a key part of our business, and we have been exporting our Fairtrade and organic teas and coffees around the world for many years. Clipper Tea was the first Fairtrade tea company in the UK, and we lead the market in this area – even helping to set the Fairtrade standards. All our teas are sourced from the very best tea estates in Africa, India and Sri Lanka, and we care passionately about two things – clean, great-tasting ingredients and good working conditions for tea estate workers.

Currently we are experiencing double digit year on year growth across our top 10 export markets, and we are confident this will continue to grow over the next few years. We are projecting big growth in a number of key regions, including the Middle East, South-East Asia and North America.

36% of Clipper's annual turnover was attributed to export in 2014. 48% of Clipper's annual turnover was attributed to export in 2015.

a range of common teas such as assam, english breakfast and earl grey, clippers offers

In recent years, we've noticed a growing appetite for organic food and drinks across Europe and worldwide. Provenance of food has also become far more important to consumers, and we realised that our British heritage was a key selling point. Everything we produce for Clipper is blended in Dorset, and we trade on that unique selling point.

Clipper's range of teas have proved popular from an export perspective, notably:

  • Infusions (including Organic Sleep Easy, Organic Lemon & Ginger and Organic Rooibos)
  • Green teas (including Organic Green Lime & Ginger and Organic Green)
  • Black teas (including Organic Decaf Everyday and Organic Earl Grey)

In the past few years, we have opened new markets in countries as diverse as South Korea, Chile, Estonia, Latvia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, UAE, India, Kazakhstan, Georgia and the Philippines. The most successful market for Clipper has been Finland, which has benefited from working alongside a strong local partner.

In the last 2 years we have internationalised our UK website with bespoke sites for France, Germany, Netherlands and Japan, to overcome the barrier of international reach. Of our Facebook followers, Helsinki and Tokyo are our 2nd and 3rd cities after London.

a range of green teas clippers has to offer

We exhibit at BIOFACH, Europe's largest Organic trade show, where we meet with both existing partners and potential new ones. This has been particularly beneficial for increasing our understanding of Asian markets, providing the opportunity to ask specific questions and better understand some of the markets' specificities around organic food and labelling requirements.

Michael Evans, Export Director, Wessanen UK:

International trade has become a key part of our business, and we have been exporting our Fairtrade and organic teas and coffees around the world for many years. Today, we are proud of the fact that Clipper products are sold in 50 countries around the world, but all our tea is still blended on site in Dorset at our Beaminster Tea Factory.

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Last reviewed: 26 Feb 2016