Source: Waitrose

Waitrose plans to grow the range of products available for sale via its international export partners

Waitrose plans to “rapidly” expand its international exports business, after seeing foreign demand for its own-label products surge.

Overseas sales of Waitrose own-label products including cheese, granola and baked beans grew 14% during the past year on the back of increased demand from UK expats and local shoppers, the supermarket said.

It has now set the target of growing its export sales by 10% during the next year by expanding its network of international third-party distributors. It also plans to expand the range of products on offer in overseas markets.

As part of the efforts, Waitrose has been holding meetings with new and existing distributors, including supermarkets across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

“Waitrose has truly been overheard around the world and shoppers from Antigua to Vietnam want to get their hands on our products, which are renowned for taste, quality and provenance,” said Waitrose executive director James Bailey.

“We’re now expanding our international business to cater for the growing global demand from local residents and British expats who miss the taste of Waitrose from home.”

The supermarket already has an established network of distributors in 42 countries, including in the UAE with the retail chain Spinneys and in Singapore, with supplier Dairy Farm International. Chile, Jordan, the Falkland Islands and Malaysia are among the other markets.

Waitrose currently lists around 2,000 products from its own-label ranges for sale overseas. It includes lines from Waitrose Essentials, No.1 and Duchy Organic. The top-selling product in 2023 was its essential Waitrose Chopped Tomatoes, of which it sold 200,000 cans.

Alongside the international expansion, Waitrose has also been growing its network of third-party UK distribution partners, which include Dobbies Garden Centres, Shell and Scottish c-store chain Margiotta. The retailer has seen increased demand for its convenience and food to go products in particular, and hopes to exploit that trend.

It follows widespread, but unconfirmed reports in October, that Waitrose was in negotiations with Amazon to list some of its own-label lines on the tech giant’s platform.