The deal by Airdrie, Scotland-based Albert Bartlett, which employs 700 full-time staff in Scotland with further outreach to farmers and distributors around the United Kingdom, is the company’s first in the U.S. market and will see the Albert Bartlett Rooster range being stocked in selected stores across Colorado and Georgia from October before being rolled out to stores in multiple states in 2013.
The company announced on Sunday details of the launch while taking part in a Scottish Development International trade mission to Chicago, led by the First Minister Alex Salmond and Scottish Enterprise Chief Executive Lena Wilson.
“It is inspiring to see a long-standing, traditional Scottish company develop so confidently and dramatically in today’s market, where Scottish food and drink exports are booming. The Albert Bartlett Rooster brand deal with Wal-Mart is another example of a quality Scottish product being made available for all to enjoy,” said Salmond.
John Hicks, VP sales and marketing for Albert Bartlett USA, said: “This is a very exciting time for Albert Bartlett; we have been working on the project for over four years, having received fantastic support from Wal-Mart. We are now excited to see how the Wal-Mart consumer responds and are confident that we can gain a strong and loyal following as we have done in the U.K.”
Scott Dray, director of produce for Wal-Mart, added: “It is always exciting to bring our customers something new, unique and of quality. We have been excited by the Albert Bartlett product since first trying it in the U.K. The taste profile of the product is fantastic and we are confident that if we can get our customers to try it once they will come back for more.”
In preparation for launching into the U.S. market, Albert Bartlett first introduced tissue culture from Scotland to North America in 2008 and has been multiplying the seed of the Rooster variety over the past four years.
Albert Bartlett’s approach, which in effect has seen it export its intellectual property, enables them to produce the product in the U.S. with local farmers and packers, bringing benefit to local economies.
Working with its U.S. partner MountainKing and other leading local U.S. farmers, the company carried out extensive growing trials across the nation and, based on the results, focused initial production in Colorado and Idaho. Next year, the company plans to extend distribution across the U.S. as it multiplies crop production and introduces new growing areas including California, Oregon and Washington.
Albert Bartlett opened its first U.S. office in Denver earlier this year to manage the launch and expansion of its activity in North America. The company is one of 11 companies participating in the trade mission to the U.S., which aims to raise the profile of Scottish food and drink companies in the country.
“We’ve seen phenomenal growth of Scottish food and drink exports with 60 percent growth over the past five years,” said Danny Cusick, president, Americas, Scottish Development International. “The U.S. continues to be one of the biggest markets for Scottish companies—overall food and drink exports to the U.S. increased by 30 percent last year, with strong growth in the premium grocery market.”
Scottish Development International has supported Albert Bartlett in its international growth plans for several years, including helping it access new customers through attendance at a major international trade show. SDI will continue to work closely with Albert Bartlett both in Scotland and overseas to support its continued international growth.