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Nairn’s continued success in International Trade recognised with a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise

Posted: 4th August 2022

Edinburgh-based Nairn’s is celebrating after winning a highly prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade. Renowned for being one of the highest official UK awards for British businesses, the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise recognise companies who excel in international trade, innovation, sustainable development or promoting opportunity. Started by the Queen in 1965, around 200 companies are bestowed with an award each year after a rigorous evaluation and validation process.


Founded in 1896, and independently owned, Nairn’s employs around 220 people across two bakery sites. The business has shown consistent profitable growth to become the UK’s largest producer of oatcakes and a major player in Gluten Free. The product range has continually evolved over the years, but their uncompromising commitment to making deliciously simple, natural and wholesome products remains as important now as it was back then.


International expansion is a key driver of the business growth and currently Nairn’s exports to over 35 markets, including the Republic of Ireland, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, China, the Middle East, Cyprus and the Netherlands. The international strategy focuses on continually widening the portfolio to existing customers and new markets.


Nairn’s is well versed in understanding the importance of creating products and packaging that are specific to certain markets in order to ensure customer needs and legislative restrictions are being met. This strategy has driven continued growth of 600% over the last 10 years, reaching £5m export sales in this financial year.  The export team collaborates with international partners to create business plans that are unique to each market, helping ensure products are available at the optimum price and in the right stores.


The overall company mission is to drive consistent profitable growth resulting in a commercial aspiration of sales reaching £50m within the next 5 years, and in order to achieve this, Nairn’s international sales growth will accelerate. Exporting is a crucial part of the business and Nairn’s will be investing in order to achieve its goals of having upweighted the international sales team and product range.


Martyn Gray, Managing Director at Nairn’s, comments: “Our export growth plans are pivotal to our overall company ambitions and our objective is to grow export sales at a significantly faster rate than domestic sales. Our actual performance has exceeded our planned targets and although the current trading environment is very challenging, we have robust plans in place to ensure we hit our growth targets going forward.”


Katie Birrell, Head of International Sales at Nairn’s, comments: “It’s been a very busy few years opening up new markets and working with new distributors.  Trade Fairs and visits to markets have been limited for the last 2 years due to the pandemic, but 2022 will see our team travelling abroad again to spend vital time with our distributor partners, agents and in retail stores. We work closely with our import partners to develop relationships and embed the

brand in the minds of colleagues in market. They are our ambassadors and it’s vital they understand the brand as well as we do. This is a key pillar to our success.  We have experienced strong growth over the last decade and outstanding year on year growth over the last three years and our focus is to grow the Nairn’s brand sustainably and for the long term. As a Scottish-based independently owned business, we are incredibly proud to be recognised with this prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise.”

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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