Chloe Burgess (Production manager, Glastry Farm) with Alastair Hamilton (Chief Executive, Invest Northern Ireland)
Glastry Farm produces luxury dairy ice cream and dairy free sorbets, made fresh on the farm. Fifth generation farmer Will Taylor and his family have been producing this decadent range of ice creams since 2007. Traditionally made, in small batches in the family’s converted milking parlour, this award winning ice cream is widely supplied to retailers, hotels and restaurants.
Taking the leap
Now, Glastry Farm is taking production and sales to the next level by winning an export deal to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This is the first time Glastry Farm will have exported their products beyond the UK and Ireland. Teaming up with Pure UAE, who are creators of the Abu-Dhabi based food service phenomena Springbok Catering, Glastry Farm’s ice cream and sorbets will very soon be available in both the high-end food service and retail markets throughout the UAE.
Invest NI assisted in the initial introduction to Pure UAE in summer 2017. Following this, Glastry Farm decided to maximise the opportunity on offer, attending the SIAL food trade show in Abu Dhabi to discover if their ice cream and sorbets had a place in the UAE market. The unique heritage flavours that Glastry Farm offers, coupled with the whole ice cream process happening on one single site… from milk production to final product, was an instant hit with UAE consumers, especially the large ex-pat community. Glastry produce is very different to the mass produced ice cream currently available in UAE.
Exporting to the Middle East, with its 365 days of sunshine each year, greatly takes away the challenges of seasonality, which is a key issue in the UK ice cream industry. Now, with a more consistent yearly production system Glastry Farm can grow the scale of the business.
Overcoming the challenges
Thankfully, the challenge of language isn’t a big issue in UAE as the citizens of the country are mainly dual-linguistic in English and Arabic. However, for retailing legislation, details on packaging such as ingredients and nutritional information must be legible in English and Arabic. Glastry had to work with a Larne based translation company to ensure the correct dialect was being printed onto overlay for packaging. In the future, as our brand becomes more established in this market, there will be a need to create specific packaging.
The challenges of a significant uplift in production and entering new markets with very different customs and working practices has been daunting. However, with the local knowledge and expertise of new business partners in the region, Glastry is excited to see what the future brings.