Thorncroft punch drunk on success

One UK company is hoping to tap a growing market for healthy drinks in the GCC.

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By  Roger Field Published  March 5, 2006

In a drinks market cluttered with sugar-laden, carbonated beverages, one UK company is hoping to bring a healthy alternative to the Middle East. And while Thorncroft’s drinks, which contain only natural ingredients such as elderflower, ginger and cranberry, are not yet available in the region, the company’s director, Guy Woodall is optimistic about the Middle East’s potential. “The drinks are doing better overseas than the UK,” he said. “They are sold in 18 countries including Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Europe.” Thorncroft, which was established in the early 1990s, originally produced a range of nine cordials, with natural flavours such as wild elderflower, autumn rosehip and wild nettle, although it recently launched a range of ready-made drinks. And while the cordials continue to sell well, Woodall said it is the new range that has given the company a new impetus. “The nine cordials are the bread-and-butter of the company but the new range of drinks is growing fast,” he said. “We feel like we’re going through a kind of a re-birth at the moment.” He added that the ready-made drinks are particularly popular with the food service sector, which Thorncroft had previously had few dealings with, while the cordials sell well in supermarkets. Woodall estimates that the new range of drinks are selling so rapidly that they will account for half of the company’s sales by the end of the year. He is also confident that Gulfood will help Thorncroft assess the potential of the Middle East market for the drinks. Indeed, Woodall recently attended the Anuga food and drink exhibition in Cologne, and gained significant business from the event. “That made me think we should so some more international shows. We did very well,” he said. “That was partly because we have this new range.”

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