Exports Case Study: United Biscuits

United Biscuits (UB) is a leading international manufacturer of biscuits, snacks and cakes, that are enjoyed around the world, including McVitie's, Carr's and Jacob's. International markets are of vital importance to UB, whose brands are sold in over 130 countries, accounting for 20% of company revenue in 2015, forecast to reach 30% in 2017.

UB International (UBI) is a multi-cultural team of 1,200 people throughout the world with a head office in London. It has transformed from a trading business to become UB's growth engine, whose sights are set on four key developing markets (China, India, Middle East and Nigeria).

Carr's Table water crackers

UBI's growth strategy is based on building hubs, with local Marketing, Technical and Manufacturing capability in key markets across the world. In 2009 it was India, where consumers can now enjoy tasty wholewheat, celebrity endorsed McVitie's biscuits. 2013 was the turn of the Middle East, where McVitie's biscuits are now made in Saudi Arabia and exported across the region. 2014 saw the significant acquisition of A&P Foods in Nigeria, enabling the local manufacture of biscuits and snacks to meet consumer demand. Also in 2015, McVitie's biscuits started to be manufactured in China - only 3 years after the McVitie's brand was re-launched there in 2012.

McVities Happy faces biscuits

UB works hard to understand local consumer needs and deliver top quality biscuits that meet these needs. McVitie's is UB's most successful brand, with the quintessential Digestive enjoyed worldwide. Being such a versatile biscuit, the McVitie's Digestive is eaten for breakfast in Italy, as a cracker with toppings in Sweden, and as an accompaniment to coffee and tea in the Middle East. What each of these markets has in common is that McVitie's is seen as a successful British brand of deliciously wholesome biscuits. To build the McVitie's brand, McVitie's communicates with consumers worldwide, through locally relevant marketing activities, ranging from AC Milan sponsorship (Italy), TV advertising (Middle East) to mass sampling initiatives and catchy radio jingles (Nigeria).

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Last reviewed: 26 Feb 2016