British start-up sells UK’s first plastic-free, vegan chewing gum overseas and wins Canada deal
Months after its first export deal, the UK’s first plastic-free, biodegradable chewing gum brand Chewsy is about to enter Canada.
It means Chewsy gum will be sold in 17 countries with exports now accounting for 40% of its turnover. The deal was confirmed before the UK’s Coronavirus lockdown and is worth £125,000 over the next five years.
Founded in 2018 by Sunitt Halai, the Bedfordshire-headquartered family start-up extracts flavours from plants and fruits for its naturally flavoured gums and even produces bespoke flavours on request.
Sunitt Halai, Founder of Chewsy said: “I started getting headaches after chewing regular gum and was shocked to find it has so many artificial ingredients and is made from plastic.
“When I could not find healthier alternatives, I decided to make my own plant-based, plastic free chewing gum, which was the first from the UK when I started the business.
“Securing deals with large retailers is hard, so having support from our adviser at the Department for International Trade to attend trade shows and receive ongoing advice, really makes a difference; selling internationally has been the highlight of our business journey so far.”
The Department for International Trade helped the start-up secure Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) funding to attend the 2019 ISM trade show in Germany. Known as the world’s leading trade fair for confectionery and snacks, this is where Chewsy met its latest customers.
Canada is a member of the Comprehensive and Pacific Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and on 9 September, International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss discussed the UK’s possible accession to this large free trading area with member nations.
Deputy HMTC for Canada, Jennifer Young said: “Chewsy’s success is a great example of how the partnership between government and business can help British businesses of all sizes meet international customers and identify new export markets. Canada is an important trading partner for the UK, and we look forward to building on that relationship in the coming years.
“Now more than ever, it is important that trade continues to grow with our allies as our economies recover from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.”
Canada and the US are top exporting markets for Chewsy in terms of value, and the business plans to start exporting to Australia soon.