United Biscuits eyes China as a key market for McVities

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

United Biscuits' McVities brand hopes to boost sales in the Chinese market
United Biscuits' McVities brand hopes to boost sales in the Chinese market

Related tags International trade Biscuit Export United biscuits

United Biscuits (UB) has announced that its total UK exports have rocketed 50% over the past three years and it expects this figure to rise a further 50% by 2020, as demand grows from countries such as China for its British brands.

UB’s chief executive Jeff van der Eems said a key focus had been on developing its McVitie’s Digestives brand into a truly global product.

The company reported that 60,000t had been exported from the UK this year, worth a total of £250M in retail sales, to more than 130 countries – with two-thirds of this comprising McVitie’s Digestives.

Key target markets

Africa, the Middle East, India and China are the four key target markets for the company. China is the fourth largest biscuit market in the world, despite biscuit consumption per capita there being still being only half of the world average, UB said.

This meant there was a lot more business to go for, it added.

UB’s west London facility at Harlesden – said to be the biggest biscuit factory in Europe – currently produces about a sixth of its output specifically for export. A further £15M of investment is planned at the factory in 2016 to help improve its capacity and boost its export potential further.


“At United Biscuits we have established a strong track record of success in finding consumers worldwide who love our iconic McVitie’s British biscuits,”​ said van der Eems.

“Whether through exporting or manufacturing locally, our international development model is central to UB’s strategy for growth and will involve continued investment in our UK sites.”

Meanwhile, UB last month opened an eCommerce store for consumers in China on Alibaba Group’s Tmall Global platform.

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