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Export Champion: Hawkshead Relish

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing the stories of some of Cumbria’s Export Champions to inspire and showcase the benefits of expanding your business overseas to drive growth. In this series, we’ll look at some of the key considerations for any business looking to expand to trade internationally, and explain how the Department of International Trade (DIT) can support you and your business at every stage of the export process.

Hawkshead Relish makes a wide range of award-winning relishes, chutneys and preserves. Using locally sourced all-natural ingredients and traditional open pan small batch production. All products in their handmade range of over 100 products are free from nuts and gluten, all are vegetarian with the majority also being vegan.

Established in 1999, Hawkshead Relish triumphed from adversity after the foot and mouth epidemic hit in 2001 and celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2019 with a visit from H.R.H Prince of Wales. The business is owned and run by husband-and-wife team Mark and Maria Whitehead who jointly received MBE's in 2011 for services to the food industry in Cumbria. They are accompanied by their daughters, Abbie, who runs their retail shop in the picturesque village of Hawkshead, and Izzy, who runs the office. Along with a close team of over 20 local employees.

Supplying over 500 independent stores throughout the UK with the Hawkshead Relish brand, they also produce a growing range of products for private label production including Chef Tom Kerridge, and high-end stores such as Liberty of London, Harvey Nichols and Fortnum and Mason.

Whilst the company’s main customer base is within the UK their exports are growing with the main markets being to Sweden, USA, Germany and around 10 other countries worldwide.

Hawkshead Relish works closely with the DIT, attending successful overseas trade missions to using their services when exploring a new market and would recommend that any business wishing to sell their products overseas should contact DIT to learn more about the journey to exporting.

Maria is also a member of the DIT strategic trade advisory group for exports and sits as the co-chairman of the business task force for the Lake District National Park Authority as well as the business being an export champion for the DIT North West.

For information and assistance on trading internationally, please get in touch with our Export Manager, Sarah Peak, who joins our team on secondment from the DIT. She can help with any enquires you may have and enable your business to export and grow into global markets:

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