UK market entry strategy

Client: HSB Dates

Location: London and Tunisia

Target Sectors: Food

Markets: UK

Delivery: 2021

About the project 

HSB is a family business that has been packing and exporting Tunisian dates, mainly the Deglet Noor variety, for over 40 years. The business recently invested significantly in expanding the factory to build a new facility for organic dates and to obtain the Ecocert certification, as part of its strategy to grow into new international markets. Although it is an experienced exporter, it had never accessed the UK market due to barriers including language and lack of local knowledge or networks. HSB engaged OCO to support its UK market development with the objective of securing its first customer and building a pipeline of
sustainable business in the market.

How OCO Global Supported:
OCO engaged with HSB over an initial 6-month period, helping it to better understand the UK market for dates, including distribution channels, packaging, branding, regulations, competition and consumer preferences. We helped them develop a brand and packaging format for the UK market and entered them into the Great Taste Awards to help them gain awareness and trust in the market.

They won a two-star award for their DEVA Fruta dates with judges describing them as ‘above and beyond delicious.’ This enabled us to secure a leading UK importer / distributor who worked with us to open conversations across large retail, food service and manufacturing.

As a result of our support, HSB secured their first order with a value of £60,000 with specialist UK wholefoods retailer, Grapetree – Working with our partner Burnham marketing, HSB created a new brand for Grapetree called SunCharmed, containing Natural Deglet Nour Dates in a 200g pack. There is potential to grow this account to £300,000 per annum and with the pipeline we have developed of other prospects, we are confident there is an annual business potential of £2m+ that can be achieved in the next 18 months.

OCO Global has been fundamental to our successful expansion into the UK but more
importantly to our maturity and competitiveness as a business. OCO helped us really
understand the UK market and what products and packaging would work there and then
made it happen through the right introductions to customers and partners.
We are now working closely with OCO on our digital marketing strategy to enhance our
Visibility and increase our sales to the UK with the ambition of making it a £500k+ business
in the next 2 years.

Zied Boujbel, CEO of HSB dates