A STOKE St Gregory ice cream company has announced it is expanding its market - by selling in China.

Granny Gothards has invested in new machinery to increase its production capacity after announcing that it will export to the country for the first time.

The dairy business makes artisan ice cream and sorbets from locally sourced ingredients.

While it has been successfully exporting its range of dairy products to the UAE and Bahrain since 2015, increasing profits from exporting by 300 per cent in two years, the company has now set its sights on establishing its brand in China.

Granny Gothards has leased a second premises with four new processing machines, increasing its production capacity by 300 per cent.

However, the ice cream will be made in the same way as when the business was first founded, despite its increase in orders.

Founder of the firm, Amanda Stansfield, said: “After the success of our ice creams in Dubai, it seems like an ideal time to now establish our brand in China. It’s the second largest economy in the world and demand for dairy is booming, giving us ample opportunity to tap into the growing trend.

“Seeking expert advice is key for any business looking to export produce to China. We’re still finalising our first order, which has required a lot of due diligence and market research to fully understand Chinese regulations, its culture and business practices. The support from Government trade advisers has been vital in navigating this process.

“We pride ourselves on our fresh produce and when you’re exporting to large countries like China and UAE, that are so far away from your production facility, it’s important to source reliable distributors to ensure the integrity of the product.

“We’ve had a long-standing relationship with the local advisers at DIT and they first arranged for us to visit The Hotel Show in Dubai back in 2015, which resulted in our first international order.

“Since then, we’ve grown rapidly in the UAE and are looking forward to entering the Chinese market in the next 12 months. If we can do it, so can many other local firms.”

The business has received support from advisers at the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) to help it navigate the Chinese market, specifically helping to address concerns around business culture and regulations.

The support is part of the Food is GREAT campaign, the UK Government’s cross department initiative to showcase UK food and drink overseas and to help firms to export.

Firms looking for support should contact 01275 370 944, email DITsw@mobile.trade.gov.uk or visit great.gov.uk, which has more than 1,600 live export opportunities listed.