Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls secures first order in Japan
The deal, starting with an initial order for almost 6,000 tins and bags of traditional and sugar free Mint Balls, has been secured with Tokyo-based importer and distributor Beau & Bon.
“British premium brands are very much in demand in Japan, especially when they have a long history and family tradition,” said John Winnard, joint MD, Uncle Joe’s.
"This trend has certainly gathered pace recently, driven by visits to the UK and internet-driven awareness of British culture and history, which obviously Japan doesn’t have.
“There is definitely a feeling of British brands having a degree of prestige and respect and being must-have purchases as a result.”
Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls will be distributed to department stores and other retail outlets alongside other British brands such as English tea, Cornish fudge and Welsh jam.
The deal was secured after Beau & Bon saw Uncle Joe’s products at The Summer Fancy Food Show, a specialty food industry event in North America, held in New York in June.
Beau & Bon managing director Maeda Mitsuhiro signed the deal after visiting The Toffee Works, the Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls factory in Wigan.
“We are hoping to develop a long-term relationship with Uncle Joe’s and its products,” said Mitsuhiro.
HRH Prince Charles enjoyed a tour of the factory in Wigan in April this year to celebrate the centenary of The Toffee Works.
He saw how the sweets were manufactured and met joint managing directors Antony Winnard and John Winnard MBE, the great, great nephews of the company’s founder, William Santus.
Uncle Joe’s products will also be showcased at the Japan Supermarket Trade Show next February.
Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls are made by William Santus and Co, a privately-owned traditional sweet company that was established in 1898. The ownership has been passed down through the family generations.
The Mint Balls are still manufactured using the same traditional methods as when Mrs Santus originally made the sweets in her kitchen in 1898.