Global sales growing
Whitley Bay entrepreneur Andy Dixon extraordinary route to success and his business tips for the future were set out at the North East Expo Chamber Showcase.
Together with his business partner John Paul Gardener, the company produces Oatein, a series of protein bars which sell all over the world.
They both saw a gap in the market for a protein bar with oats and realised Oatein was the perfect name for the product, so much they patented it in 35 countries before they had even sold one bar.
Within six months of setting up their business, their products had a great take up from customers who loved their flavours based on favourite deserts like cherry bakewell or cookies and cream.
The next stage in the business development was to create flapjacks and cookies, followed by brownies, all low in sugar but high in protein.
He said: “We constantly listen to our customers and have been given brilliant advice on future trends from them. For example, we were told producing a halal bar would go down very well. The results of adapting some of our bars to get this certification have been fantastic, especially in the Middle East, which now represents up to 50% of our turnover.”
The business has ambitions to export to more countries but the food rules and regulations can sometimes mean this is complicated to achieve. However Andy Dixon said they are keen to break into the Mexico, Brazil and Australian marketplaces.
He also spoke about the fantastic spike in interest in Oatein after appearing on Dragon’s Den, with 30k views the night it was broadcast alone.
Peter Jones invested in their business which was the dragon they were particular keen to have supporting them. However, a comment from Deborah Meaden saying the business wasn’t for her as she was interested in veganism piqued Andy Dixon’s interest. Oatein then developed a vegan and gluten-free bar which is proving very popular.
Now 2.5m bars, flapjacks and cookies later, Oatein products are in supermarkets, pharmacies and specialty health outlets in around 60 countries worldwide and the entrepreneurs still have a keen eye on markets to exploit.