British pickles manufacturer, Bennett Opie, expands in South Korea

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Bennett Opie, a leading manufacturer and distributer of pickles, ginger and cocktail products, is announcing its expansion into South Korea. Led by owner William Opie, this growth solidifies the brand’s international presence, with products now available across the world – from Iceland to New Zealand  and now South Korea.

Building on its existing export base of 20 countries, South Korea becomes the latest territory to be explored by this specialist in British pickling methods. Whilst the business has been exporting since 1988, when it won the Queen’s Award for Export, in recent years it has begun to truly reap the benefits of a global marketplace, with sales increasing nearly 50% in the past four years.

Based in Kent and originally founded in 1880, this British business has taken ‘global’ to a new level. It is the sole importer of Monin syrups for coffee shops and bars, Lingham’s chilli sauces from Malaysia and Ferns pickles and pastes from India – importing and exporting products and raw materials across the globe. In 2014 the company has also expanded into Dubai and the Middle East with its Garden of England products, and is set to enjoy further growth from a booming Chinese Market.

With over 100 years’ experience in the distribution, pickling and preserving industry, the company strives to create, produce and distribute high quality products all year round. With a current turnover of £24.7m (2013), it is a stark contrast to the £5 Bennett Opie had in his pocket when he first set up the company.  Citing a year-on-year sales turnover growth of 12% over 2012 and doubling turnover in the last six years, the company also acquired a new warehouse in Kent – setting the stage for further rapid expansion in the coming years.

Spanning four generations of the Opie line, the family-run business is one of the oldest privately owned food companies in the UK. Established by William Opie’s great grandfather – a Cornish miner who journeyed to London to make his fortune in the big City, the company has been built up by William’s father and “Uncle Tony” – continuing to produce outstanding produce, including pickles, ginger and walnuts.

As chairman of “Produced in Kent”, William Opie is keen not to forget his British heritage. Taking pride in sourcing local ingredients in the UK, as well as looking further afield for quality produce, Opie has sourced everything from walnuts to Bramley apples picked just four miles from the factory. Unlike larger producers, the company does all of its work by hand, enabling them to craft a superior product, something which has increased appeal overseas.

Opie said: “Today’s success has only been made possible thanks to the decision to expand the business into international markets. The company has never neglected its quintessentially English roots, however we have built on our heritage to appeal to other cultures.  Expanding to South Korea is part of this plan, however in the next five years, we aim to go further and for our products to be available on dinner tables in every corner of the world”.

Sourcing raw materials worldwide including the UK, Bennett Opie is truly a global company, using ginger from China, gherkins and peppercorns from India, onions from Holland and cherries from Italy. Sourcing the best from the best ensures the quality needed for the Bennett Opie range to remain in global demand.