FOOD START-UP BIKL EXPLORES EXPORT OPPORTUNITIES
Despite all the attention paid to a healthy lifestyle, with good nutrition at the top of the list, we still don’t eat enough vegetables. It would help a lot if we were supported a bit more by food producers. A food startup that started working on this is Bikl. Bikl makes fresh pickles ‘bursting with flavour’ and wants to make fermented vegetables accessible to everyone. So it’s not just about pickles and not just about the Netherlands!
Over the past few months we have talked a lot about internationalisation with Arend van den Berg, co-founder of Bikl and journalist from home. We have carried out an SIB program, a Starters International Business program of the RVO, to which we as TEN are connected to. The process includes a number of coaching sessions in which the entrepreneur gradually elaborates an export plan. We coach, advise and come up with practical advice. All kinds of food and export related issues are discussed, about the concept, about the most interesting markets to go to, about the market entry strategy, legal and logistical aspects. And about everything the entrepreneur wants to talk about – after decades of export experience, we have seen almost everything passing by.
Before you start international expansion, take a closer look at the start situation. What is your added value? What are the learnings of the home market? Bikl had started to launch the fermented pickles in the Foodservice channel and had developed beautiful pouches. For retail, the idea was to opt for standard plastic containers. We managed to convince Arend to go for more distinction to be able to stay away from the hugely competitive price setting. The Foodservice stand up pouches have also been made suitable for retail. With a transparent window on the facing instead of on the back of the package. After all, the consumer only sees your product for a moment and decides in a few seconds whether you match his/her needs. In the Netherlands, Bikl can already be found at Marqt and Crisp and the retail path will continue.
The feedback in the Netherlands is very positive. De Telegraaf writes about the pickles that are ‘true taste explosions’ and this is of course a very nice base to startup in other markets. We have carried out a market selection and for this, the UK, Germany and the Scandinavian markets have been the most promising. Brexit may be a short-term hurdle, but in the longer term the UK market remains a very interesting one for innovative food concepts. Furthermore, it seems that the Dutchman is perhaps an exception to this pickle concept, because from other nationalities Bikl often gets the feedback that the fermented pickles remind them of their homeland. ‘It reminds me of the village I was born in the US!’ or ‘It tastes like my favorite dish in Poland!’ or more often: ‘I’ve been looking for it for a long time; it just wasn’t available in the Netherlands!’ This seems to be an outstanding basis for internationalisation!
There is still an important threshold to be taken for real expansion: finance. That is why a crowdfunding campaign has been set up. So if you want to help Arend with the introduction of pure vegetable products with a great taste then support the action on Bikl. And if you as a food startup like Arend want to explore your limits in the free SIB program, please contact us or look for info on SIB