Gnaw, the Norwich-based maker of a quirky range of handcrafted chocolates, has formed a partnership with leading distributor Blakemore Fine Foods, that will enable both companies to boost business with UK retailers who want to buy British.
Gnaw reports it has grown significantly since it started up in 2011. It now supplies 1,000 outlets in the UK and exports to 25 countries.
Blakemore Fine Foods (formerly Heart Distribution), is based in Willenhall, near Wolverhampton, and is a distribution network that connects British producers with their customers. It now supplies more than 3,000 product lines made by 198 British producers to farm shops delis, garden centres and retailers such as The Co-operative and Spar.
Blakemore commercial director, Caoire Blakemore, said: “It was all perfect timing, really. We were aware of Gnaw as a superb quality British chocolate producer, and we knew their unusual and compelling range would appeal to our customers. At the same time we were starting to work with Midland Co-op and looking to increase our portfolio of confectionary producers.
“So we contacted Gnaw and it became clear immediately that we had the same aims and business ethos. We both run a family business, we both believe in supplying the best British-made products, and we share an ambition to expand our offering into the UK. In addition, we both feel strongly that the producer should keeping commercial control and decide who we supply their product to. It really is the perfect marriage of minds.”
Gnaw owner Matt Legon said: “Gnaw is ambitious to grow, but we want to expand in the right way, with the right partners who can help us reach the right retailers for our product. Blakemore is the perfect partner for us. They are well-established with an excellent reputation, they are family-run and care passionately about quality and supplying only the best to their customers. The way they work with producers is also very hands-on and they totally understand our desire to be very selective about who stocks our product.
“I am very excited about working with Blakemore and putting Gnaw into a wider range of independent shops and smaller chains in the UK that champion British-made, high quality products. Our aim is to reach a £1m turnover by the end of 2015, and we are optimistic that this partnership will help us achieve that goal.”
Feedback from Blakemore’s customers who are stocking Gnaw has so far been very positive. “We are already getting repeat orders, so Gnaw is clearly selling well,” said Blakemore. “We also had a great response about Gnaw from the Spar Trade Show at the NEC. We forecast a 47% growth for 2014 and we believe Gnaw will play a significant part in reaching that target.”