Gaining export accreditation was no small task for this South Australia-based yoghurt maker – but the effort is paying off.
Increased flexibility in export markets has given way to more opportunities for dairy exporters in recent years – but there are still hoops to jump through before suppliers can start making a decent profit.
After a long road – which involved jumping through many hoops – The Yoghurt Shop gained export accreditation to ship its dairy products overseas four years ago, and now takes its products into Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Brunei – and is looking at the United Arab Emirates.
The company blends traditionally made Greek yoghurt with Australian fruit and nuts, and produces more than 30 variations of retail yoghurt and 10 flavours of frozen yoghurt at its factory between the Barossa Valley and Adelaide.
The point of difference is the way the product is made. The company pasteurises and cooks the milk in the same way as most other yoghurt manufacturers – but pumps it out into cloths and strains about 10-15,000 litres to gain a 50 per cent yield – which results in its premium quality.
“Our yoghurt offers a great mouthfeel, texture, and body because we make it the old-fashioned way instead of pumping it out using thickening agents,” owner Simon Reynolds says.
The “old-fashioned way” is costly, but Reynolds says that without this point of difference they’d be just “swimming in a large pool”.
“We don't want to be the biggest; we just want our little slice of pie,” he says. “We produce a simple, premium product that we're very proud of.”
Reynolds says the yoghurt sits firmly at the premium end of the market – which is finding favour in export markets.
“We're not the cheapest, so we aren’t going into the big boys so much – but the export market wants a premium product,” he says.
Success in Reynolds’ home town gave The Yoghurt Shop its name. He started selling the product – yoghurt tubs with a fruit topping – at a stall in the Adelaide Central Market in 2003, and went on to open 10 stores around South Australia.
He then turned them into licensed stories and set up his own manufacturing base in order to sustain a better, more stable product.
“I didn’t want to be the middle man any longer. Since we set up our own base we have been able to forward sales into different states and graft some export opportunities,” Reynolds says.
Last year the company began exporting its single-serve packaged products to Brunei, where it is now sold in five retail outlets.
In April this year, the company also started selling its products through a distributor in Thailand.And working closely with one of the largest food retailers in Hong Kong and Singapore, Dairy Farm International Holdings, The Yoghurt Shop began trialling its products at the beginning of this year in one outlet in Hong Kong.
Reynolds has plans to “almost triple” the company’s sales in Asia from three per cent to eight per cent of its business within 12 months, and expand across Southeast Asia by 2022.
He is also looking at exporting to the UAE and Qatar in the future, and hopes exports will account for 50 per cent of total sales within five years.