Suffolk: Muntons and Gressingham lead way on export growth

TWO food and drink companies in Suffolk feature in a new listing of the 200 private companies in Britain with the fastest-growing export sales.

Duck meat specialist Gressingham Foods, based at Debach, near Woodbridge, is ranked 55th in the inaugural Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200, to be published this weekend, with international sales of �6.147million, representing annual growth of 61% over the past two years.

Malt and malted ingredients company Muntons, based at Stowmarket, is ranked 149th with international sales of �38.253m, representing annual growth of 29%.

Gressingham Foods, emplyoys 417 people and processes more than 170,000 Gressingham ducks a week, began exporting to France in the mid-1990s.

William Buchanan, joint-managing director and a son of the company’s founder, says exports to Europe and the Fast East have been demand-driven, with one major overseas market being Denmark where duck is traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve. The company’s total sales reached �90.898m last year.

Muntons, which employs 257 people and supplies customers including Carlsberg, Kelloggs and Mars, has offices in the US, Singapore and Thailand, including a research and development office in Bangkok to develop products for the Asian market.

Managing director Alan Ridealgh says that overseas markets have always been an essential part of its business. Exports last year accounted for just over half its total sales of �75.375m.